Despite increases in insurance costs for town employees, town of Glenville officials have released a preliminary town budget that calls for only a marginal tax increase.
What the increase annually amounts to is basically less than the cost of a tank of gas, said town Supervisor Frank Quinn.
There are two tax districts within the town; town of Glenville residents, of which there are 28,500 taxpayers, and village of Scotia residents, which account for 7,800 taxpayers. Village residents will see an annual tax increase of $27 per year; for the town of Glenville that figure will be $19 per year, due in part to differently assessed property valuations.
The town's 2006 budget was $10.4 million, while this preliminary 2007 budget calls for $10.7 million in spending, an increase of $312,723, or 3 percent. Quinn attributed much of the increase to the 11 percent jump in insurance costs for employees, of which there are approximately 110.
"Seventy-four percent of our budget is paying benefits," said Quinn. "If you look at any municipality around, you'll find this to be true. It's unavoidable."
Quinn said negotiations are still ongoing with union contracts for employee pay raises, health insurance carriers, and buy-outs and cash-outs for retiring employees.
"This could all have a huge impact on the budget," said Quinn. "There is much uncertainty because these contracts are unsettled."
The town board has been scrutinizing the tentative budget, released Sept. 29, in a series of workshops that whittled the budget down from $11.3 million.
"We're going line by line," said Quinn. "At the end of August, all our department heads turned in their budget requests, and then we went to work."
Quinn said the current town board is dealing with some areas of the budget that were under-funded last year, and now require more expenses.