Halfmoon readies tentative budget

The Town of Halfmoon has prepared a tentative budget for 2009 that weighs in at just under $15 million, a 9.2 percent increase over last year's budget. It includes no town tax for the 30th consecutive year, and forgoes a highway tax for the 24th year in a row.

General fund appropriations will increase to $7.27 million, up from the $6.5 million the town plans to end up spending in 2008. An increase in the demand for services as the town's population grows, as well as the rising cost of energy and burden of building a new town hall and park, were cited as reasons for the increase.

Town Supervisor Mindy Wormuth said that keeping costs down for residents who are dealing with higher gas and heating costs was paramount when preparing the budget. Some money was drawn from the town's surplus.

We tried not to look at deep cuts into programs we feel people are going to need now more than ever, said Wormuth.

There might be changes to the budget as the state's economic situation worsens, also. The Town Board approved the tentative budget on Friday, Oct. 3, just minutes after Gov. David Paterson painted a grim picture for the months ahead.

"We will continue to receive information from the state and look at any adjustments necessary," said Wormuth, adding that the board usually addresses the budget during their regularly scheduled sessions.

Like other municipalities in Saratoga County, Halfmoon's largest revenue is from the county sales tax, but the town is not planning for a large increase on that front with just $3.5 million being budgeted, only $200,000 more than in 2008.""

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