Guilderland town board adopts budget

The Guilderland Town Board adopted a budget at its Thursday, Nov. 6, meeting, which lasted more than seven hours.

Board members adopted a $30,604,448 spending plan that passed in a 4-to-1 vote. Councilman Mark Grimm was the lone dissenter.

The town will see a 4.68 percent increase on the town tax levy, and it raised the tax rate from 25 cents per $1,000 to 26 cents per $1,000.

Town Supervisor Ken Runion said the 4.68 percent increase was due mostly to $20 million in new assessed value throughout the town. Runion said it is the lowest town tax rate in the Capital District.

Councilman Warren Redlich made several suggestions to cut spending, and one was to have elected officials and political appointees take a 5 percent pay cut. His motion did not receive a second. He made another motion to freeze their salaries, and eliminate the 3 percent raise in the budget, but that did not pass either.

Runion defended the raise for town employees.

It's a poor attempt to try to eliminate some budget lines on the backs of people who work hard for the residents of this town, he said. "I think it's political grandstanding."

Council members Paul Pastore and Patricia Slavick also commended the elected officials and political appointees and supported the raise.

Grimm said he opposed the budget because of what he said were too many fee increases for public services.

He said he was unhappy with the town not passing a freeze on elected officials' pay raises, and he did not support the funding cuts made to Community Caregivers, in order to hire a part-time employee to assist the service organization that helps the elderly.

Runion said the services from Community Caregivers will be improved as a result, but Grimm questioned why the group was not left as volunteer-only.

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