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Bethlehem's fair financial footing

“The town has the ability to levy a tax that’s essentially the lost PILOT revenue,” said Traylor. “We could be made whole through this formula, but that would mean that your taxes would go up.”

There are concerns about Albany County’s financial situation, but one benefit the town will receive from the county is more sales tax revenue. That’s because of census data that shows a seven percent growth in Bethlehem’s population, which will lead to a bigger piece of the sales tax pie for the town.

Traylor will leave her second-floor office before a new supervisor, John Clarkson, takes office in January. Traylor said Clarkson’s experience working for the State Comptroller’s Office and State Division of the Budget would benefit the town as officials try to create multi-year budgeting plans. Traylor added that it is difficult without more staff to develop the analysis needed for multi-year projections, but said some of that work has already begun.

“If you look at our budgeting, we actually used a type of capital plan in making our predictions for next year, based on where we expect to be in the next three or four years,” said Traylor.

However, Traylor warned that the projections would only take the town so far.

“Every year you have to revisit it,” Traylor cautioned. “Every year you have to make some predictions about where you think you’re going to be spending your money. If you have another Hurricane Irene next year, that changes everything.”

Traylor said the Town Board would consider a policy regarding maintenance of its fund balance during a meeting this month. She said the town has had a policy for budgeting purposes, but has not adopted a formal policy in the past.

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