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Schroon trims 2014 budget

Taxes to decrease next year

Spending and taxes will decrease in 2014 for town of Schroon residents. The budget for next year, adopted by the town board, totals $1,693,744. That’s $20,349 — 1.2 percent — less than the current spending plan of $1,714,093.

Spending and taxes will decrease in 2014 for town of Schroon residents. The budget for next year, adopted by the town board, totals $1,693,744. That’s $20,349 — 1.2 percent — less than the current spending plan of $1,714,093.

— Spending and taxes will decrease in 2014 for town of Schroon residents.

The budget for next year, adopted by the town board, totals $1,693,744. That’s $20,349 — 1.2 percent — less than the current spending plan of $1,714,093.

The amount to be raised by taxes in 2014 is $1,102,045. That’s $35,398 — 3.1 percent — less than the present tax levy of $1,137,443.

“We tightened our ship; we didn’t use any fund balance,” Schroon Supervisor Michael Marnell said of the budget process. “We did it the way the state wants. We stayed under the tax cap and didn’t use any fund balance.”

The New York State cap limits municipalities to annual tax increases of 2 percent or less.

“There are no frills in this budget,” Marnell said. “Everyone had something they wanted, but unless it was an absolute necessity it’s not in this budget.”

The 2014 budget includes a 30-cent an hour pay increase for the town’s hourly employees. The highway superintendent and town clerk will also get raises equating to 30 cents an hour. All other elected officials have accepted a pay freeze.

Schroon has 35 year-round employees. That number swells to 47 in the summer, Marnell said.

Helping Schroon officials in their budget deliberations was a reduction in employee health insurance costs.

“We have a very good health insurance program for our employees, it’s a Cadillac,” Marnell. “Some cheaper insurance programs went up, but our’s went down. That was a big help.”

Schroon has done a good job over the years of maintaining its infrastructure and equipment, Marnell said, which prevents the need for major, high-priced projects.

“We try to take care of what we have,” the supervisor said. “We try to do as much maintenance as possible in house.”

Marnell, who was elected to his second term in office Nov. 5, believes Schroon is well-positioned for the future.

“The first year of the tax cap we had to use fund balance to stay under the 2 percent,” he said. “Last year we didn’t have any fund balance because we had used it the year before. Now we’ve built a little cushion and we’re able to hold on to it. That makes things a little easier.”

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