Ticonderoga officials have submitted their “wish list,” now it’s time for serious work on the town’s 2014 budget.
Ticonderoga Ticonderoga officials have submitted their “wish list,” now it’s time for serious work on the town’s 2014 budget.
“We’re also gearing up for the 2014 budget season,” Supervisor Deb Malaney said. “The (state-imposed) 2 percent tax cap is a very tight margin so we have to keep operational costs as low as possible. It’s a struggle to keep services going, taxes down and people working, but we’ve stayed within the cap since the governor implemented it.”
The tax cap allows little growth in spending. In 2014 Ti will be allowed to increase its general fund spending about $20,000 and its highway spending about $10,000, Malaney reported.
Municipalities are allowed to exceed the tax cap by approving a local law, but Malaney doesn’t want to consider that possibility.
“I am adamant about staying within the cap limits,” the supervisor said, “but if the majority of the town board wanted to exceed the cap, they could do so by passing a local law to override the tax cap during the budget cycle, prior to the adoption of the annual budget. Some towns pass the override as a protection mechanism, but still stay at the 2 percent cap. The cap is an effective influence on municipal spending.”
Staying within the tax cap has meant some difficult choices for Ti officials.
“We’ve had about seven positions vacated over the last three years and have not replaced them,” Malaney said. “Silver Bay taking over the youth program saved the town about $60,000 annually and consolidating the health insurance plan saved $30,000.”
Town department heads have submitted their 2014 budget requests to the town board. Now the board will schedule a series of workshops and trim those requests before adopting a final budget.
“The tentative budget is the initial budget containing estimates submitted by department heads—I call it ‘the wish list’,” Malaney said. “Once the tentative budget is reviewed and modified by the town board, it becomes the preliminary budget and must be filed with the town clerk. Following a public hearing in November, the annual budget must be adoption by Nov. 20.”
Malaney encourages Ticonderoga residents to take part in the budget process.
“The public is welcomed and encouraged to attend the budget meetings and can get budget copies from the town clerk,” she said.