Taxes won't budge in '07

Once again, Guilderland's proposed 2007 budget will not carry any additional burden on town taxpayers.

The last eight years, we have not had a tax increase, said Supervisor Ken Runion.

In 2007, residents will pay 25 cents per $1,000 of assessed value for the townwide general fund. Runion, who estimated the average cost of a home in the town is about $180,000, said the average resident would end up paying about $45 toward the general fund.

In what he called a "maintenance-type" budget, Runion said budget work sessions tended to focus on necessary maintenance and repairs.

"We have very limited new programs," said Runion.

Runion said that when developing the budget, departments are asked where they can cut costs if necessary, and the focus stays on the balance of keeping taxes low and the town's maintenance levels up.

"We don't want to let anything go or deteriorate," said Runion.

The process of keeping taxes where they are is not necessarily an easy one, said Runion.

"It takes some work, some effort," he said.

In addition to the fund balance, Albany County election mandate costs for the proposed budget would be a little more than 9 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. The costs, stemming from the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA), were recently at the center of some controversy. To comply with the HAVA guidelines, Albany County will be taking control of the election processes in municipalities countywide, but much of the cost will be charged back to the towns.

Guilderland was originally faced with election charges of approximately $276,000.

A letter from County Executive Michael Breslin on Oct. 5 announced a compromise in his budget proposal that would drastically reduce the amount each municipality would be paying.

Runion speculated the amount Guilderland would now owe is in the range of $80,000.

"It's better than the $276,000, but it's still double what we usually budget," said Runion.

To cover the costs, Runion said, an additional line item was created in the budget.

The total taxes to be levied for the general fund, election costs, highway costs and for special districts " light, fire, ambulance, sewer and water " is $15,248,471.

The budget is available to view at town hall. A public budget hearing will be held Tuesday, Nov. 9, at 7:30 p.m.""

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