Westport town budget tax levy increase below cap

— The Westport Town Council approved a preliminary 2012 budget with a 0.9 percent increase to the town’s tax levy during its Oct. 11 meeting.

“We have been trying to keep the tax levy low and really have been under the tax cap anyhow with our budgeting,” Supervisor Daniel “Dan” Connell said. “We had three special meetings where the members of the board went through the budget and went through each line item to see where we could cut.”

Connell said that the biggest reason behind the town’s ability to keep the tax levy low was that there would be no raises in the 2012 budget, including with town employees.

“The union really worked with us on this budget,” Connell said. “None of the employees will be getting any raises in 2012, and the union came to a three-year agreement.”

Connell said that while the 2012 tax levy remains low, he bemoaned the fact that there was no money alloted for project to deal with the buildings that house the town and highway departments.

“There is no money and no way that we can work on these buildings that are falling down around us now,” Connell said. “There is a few thousand dollars that we have to do some engineering studies, but we do not have anything in the budget for the type of repairs that are needed.”

The tax levy for the 2012 Westport town budget currently stands at $840,244, up $8,054 from the 2011 amount of $832,190, or an increase of 0.97 percent. Appropriations were increased from $1,841,220 in 2011 to $1,873,805 in 2012 (up $32,585), while revenues are expected to go from $1,472,656 in 2011 to $1,493,189 in 2012 (up $20,533).

Along with the budget, the town was also able to decrease the water rates in District 3 from $120 per quarter to $95 per quarter.

The public hearing on the 2012 preliminary budget will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at 6:30 p.m. at the Westport Town Hall, followed by the regular 7 p.m. bi-monthly town board meeting.

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