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Warren Co. leaders approve 2014 budget with slim levy hike

Warren County Budget Officer Frank Thomas, who’s also Stony Creek town supervisor, announces details of the 2014 budget Nov. 1 to the assembled county supervisors, who voted unanimously to approve the spending plan.

Warren County Budget Officer Frank Thomas, who’s also Stony Creek town supervisor, announces details of the 2014 budget Nov. 1 to the assembled county supervisors, who voted unanimously to approve the spending plan. Photo by Thom Randall.

— Warren County Supervisors voted unanimously Friday Nov. 1 to endorse a $154.3 million budget that raises the tax levy across the county by 1.57 percent but dedicates about $600,000 more to upgrading county roads and $300,000 to combat invasive species in the county’s waterways.

The budget represents a $2.6 million increase in appropriations over 2013, when the “pass-through” payments of sales tax revenue to municipalities are excluded.

The increase in the tax levy is well below the amount allowed under the state tax cap, which in Warren County’s case would have allowed an increase of 2.26 percent.

The 2014 tax levy increase countywide means that a property owner with a 200,000 house will have to pay an average of $28.80 more per year.

The county tax rates for the individual municipalities within the county, however, will be varying dramatically, due to equalization rates and apportionments — factors out of the county’s control.

The 2014 county tax rate is expected to rise 3.84 percent in Warrensburg and Stony Creek, but decrease by 2.89 percent in Chester and Horicon and decline by 1.37 percent in Johnsburg. The county tax rate will likely be going up only .81 percent in Thurman, and 1.29 percent in Queensbury.

The budget also allows for 2 percent raises for almost all officials and non-union employees.

The tax rates were kept stable, despite an increase in health insurance premiums and boosted fuel costs, as well as a shrinking tax base. The total full value of the county’s properties is $10.38 billion, compared to $11.2 billion in 2011. Health insurance costs for the county are expected to increase by more than $900,000 next year. Other factors driving increases are $850,388 in higher wages, and $264,000 more in federal projects.

Sales tax revenue is budgeted to be $4.1 million higher next year — a 1.25 percent increase over the current year — in line with increases in collections already encountered.

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