continued One thing that has changed in recent weeks is the town’s approach to road paving. The town has recently been borrowing for its yearly paving projects, and after the issue was broached in workshops, the new tentative budget includes a measure to draw down borrowing for that purpose.
Under the plan, the highway fund tax would increase by 3 percent and other monies would be shifted to bring just over $100,000 worth of paving back into the operational budget of the Highway Department. About $700,000 worth of paving is budgeted for.
Changes in the taxes to be levied in other funds would bring the blended tax levy hike to the same 1.27 percent.
This plan seemed to sit well with members of the Town Board, who still prodded department heads for more cuts on Thursday in hopes of achieving a flat tax rate.
Acting Commissioner of Public Works Erik Deyoe said his budget was trimmed by $600,000 in this budget proposal and the effects of years of cuts are being felt.
“From my perspective, morale is kind of at an all-time low in our department. ... I’m incredibly concerned about retention,” he said.
There are no across-the-board raises in the tentative budget. About $210,000 is budgeted to give “limited merit increases and incentives,” to be distributed to employees who haven’t seen a raise in recent years or took on additional duties without a pay hike. The town has 236 employees.
Councilman Mark Jordan said he has concerns about the feasibility of the tentative budget even with the tax hike, which accounts for about $121,000 worth of revenue. He said a 10 percent reduction in the overtime budget for the Police Department would likely backfire.
“We’re not even at where we can’t cut anything, we’re below,” Jordan said. “We’re going to have to make a budget modification [next year].”