The village of Lake Placid outlined its proposed budget this week, including a 4 percent increase in spending, a 1.3 percent rise in the tax levy, and a 2.6 percent increase in the tax rate.
The village experienced an $8 million reduction in its assessed value that now totals roughly $16.5 million. That means that if the village does not raise taxes, its revenues will drop.
Mayor Craig Randall said the village would've had a zero percent tax increase if the assessments hadn't declined. The village's 1.3 percent tax increase adds just $42,000 to the village's current tax levy of $3.29 million.
Total spending would be much higher, about $5.4 million, but Randall said the difference would be made up from additional revenues, such as sales tax and payments from the town for fire protection, sewer and electric services.
But Randall cautioned that challenges lie ahead.
"This is a great budget, however there are significant forces out there that continue to trouble us," Randall said during Tuesday night's regular board meeting.
He said contractual obligations, including rising health insurance and pension costs loom ahead. For instance, Randall said health insurance costs rose 8.75 percent this year and they've projected a 10 percent increase over next year's budget.
Later in the meeting, the board voted to eliminate insurance benefits for future board elects, a move they expect to save the village more than a quarter of a million dollars over the coming years.
Randall said the village also needed to do a better job negotiating with labor unions on employee-related costs, which account for the largest share of the budget.
Among the steep increases is the village's contribution to the New York State Retirement Fund, which shot up more than $114,000. The increase was mandated by the state Comptroller's Office to compensate for losses in the funds underlying investments, according to Randall.
A public hearing on the proposed budget is set for 5:30 p.m. June 16.