MILTON: Town cuts taxes further

Town of Milton residents may have one more reason to cheer in the New Year in 2008: Town taxes are anticipated to be reduced, and perhaps even eliminated.

The town's budget committee has been meeting throughout the summer, and most recently on Tuesday, Aug. 21, to review the spending plan line by line and present a historic perspective on developing long-term budget forecasts.

Town taxes have been slashed each year for the past two years.

In 2006, they were cut 25 percent; in 2007, residents paid 21.5 percent less in town taxes.

Town comptroller Martin Glastetter delivered the news at the end of August that tax rates for 2008 could go down by 50 percent or, in the best-case scenario, be eliminated entirely.

Milton is due to receive more in sales tax revenues from Saratoga County than we originally expected, and that's going to benefit us in a big way, said Glastetter.

The budget committee expects to see $276,000 above and beyond the amount originally in the 2008 budget, and gave their recommendations about where to funnel those surprise funds.

"The committee believes we should use this extra money to reduce taxes further," said Glastetter.

In this year's budget, the town collected $632,000 in property taxes. The current tax rate is 45 cents per $1,000 of assessed property valuation for properties located within the Village of Ballston Spa, and 65 cents per $1,000 of value for properties outside the village. In other words, a property owner with land valued at $200,000 inside the village limits would pay $100.50 in annual town taxes.

Town board members pledged to continue to cut spending to balance the budget if a no-tax status was obtained. They also agreed to consider allocating the tax surplus funds toward the town fund balance to reduce or eliminate taxes, rather than spending the excess on additional purchases.

"We're committed to a tax reduction, and we'll be in that 50 to 100 percent reduction one way or another," said town council member Joe Miranda.""

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