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Malta proceeds with budget

The Malta Town Board will continue to discuss the 2007 tentative budget at a workshop Oct. 16 at 4 p.m. The tentative budget, filed last month by Supervisor Paul Sausville, is $6.58 million, details of which have been discussed at several recent workshops. These workshops are open to the public and provide a forum for the board to discuss specific items before adopting a preliminary budget later in the month.

Once the preliminary budget has been adopted, a public hearing will be scheduled for residents to provide feedback and ask questions.

Malta is in sound financial condition, said Sausville. The budget includes $1.05 million for fire and ambulance services, $1.6 million for highway maintenance, $840,000 for parks, recreation and culture, $560,000 for planning and code enforcement as well as $360,000 for capital project reserve.

"The town has been very resourceful. Revenues to balance the budget are projected to come from sales taxes, mortgage taxes, franchise fees, permit fees, fines and special-purpose taxes," said Sausville. "Property owners pay real-estate taxes only for the fire protection district and a small amount for the volunteer ambulance service award."

The tax rate for the volunteer ambulance services is $.02 per $1,000 while the fire protection tax rate is $.6653 per $1,000. With no outstanding debt and no highway tax, it is expected that property owners with an assessed value of $200,000 will pay $137 in real property taxes next year.

Some of the line items in the tentative budget include providing $60,000 for library services. While the town typically provides financial support to the Round Lake Library, Sausville said, a small portion of this year's funding will be specifically ear-marked for architectural studies to explore the possibility of expanding the existing Round Lake Library.

Another item under review is $100,000 to begin a reassessment project proposed by town assessor Sue Otis. The proposal, presented by Vice President of GAR Associates Cindy Baire, is designed to bring about fair and equitable property assessments through a comprehensive townwide project. Baire said the project would verify property inventory data, create a new baseline, and bring the assessor's office into the electronic age. Otis said the town did not do an annual reassessment last year, which resulted in a drop in the equalization rate from 100 to 85.

"It is time to make a commitment," she said. "This will take a couple of years." Sausville noted that the $100,000 in the tentative budget would provide funding for the first year of the multi-year program.

Other line items include a request from Saratoga P.L.A.N., as well as setting aside money for future capital improvements, the purchase of highway equipment and upgrading park equipment. ""

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