The proposed 2012 Moriah town budget falls within the new state 2 percent tax cap. The preliminary 2012 tax levy totals $1,978,306. That’s an increase of $28,687 — 1.47 percent — from the present levy of $1,949,619.
The storms are felt in the budget in another way. Bulwagga Bay Campsite, which normally generates about $260,000 in revenue for the town, was closed several weeks after the April storm. I produced $40,000 less than anticipated in 2011.
Revenues from mortgage tax, building permits and state aid also fell short of projections in 2011.
The 2012 budget does contain money for several significant increases. Employee health insurance has increased 15 percent, even after employees agreed to change plans and increase their own contribution. Pension costs are up 18 percent. Utility costs are up 16 percent.
Town employees as well as the highway superintendent and town clerk will get 2.5 percent pay raises in 2012. Other elected officials will get no pay hike.
The proposed budget calls for no layoffs. Scozzafava pointed out the town has been eliminating positions through attrition, noting the loss of a clerk, police officer and highway employee in recent years. To pick up the slack, he said, town office workers have extended their day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“We’re fortunate that we gave great employees,” Scozzafava said. “Our spending is under control thanks to great department heads and a very conservative town board. There’s no money wasted in Moriah.”
The preliminary budget allows for no new equipment purchases and freezes spending on the youth and other programs.
Scozzafava said it’s a challenge to balance spending and public services.
“This is the most difficult budget in all my years in office,” said Scozzafava, who has been supervisor more than two decades. “We just don’t have money to spend, yet we’re still responsible to provide services to residents.”
Scozzafava thanked Becky Gilbo, principle account clerk, for her work on the spending plan.