GLENVILLE As Glenville Supervisor Christopher Koetzle works on finishing his preliminary budget for 2012 he is trying to balance maintaining services while cutting costs.
During the first of two budget forums, Koetzle presented the beginning workings of his budget for 2012. By the end of the month he plans to have the final version of the preliminary budget done. The crowd during the first budget forum on Wednesday,Sept. 7, was mostly town employees and Koetzle stressed trying to maintain services while controlling costs. A recurring theme throughout the forum was the Town Board trying to stay under the 2 percent tax cap spearheaded by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Since the tax cap passed in the State Legislature, Koetzle has continuously said it would be difficult for the board to maintain services if it stayed within the 2 percent tax cap. Although, the all Republican Town Board couldn’t overturn the restriction with a 3 to 2 vote, which appears to be an option under consideration.
“The challenges are really why stay under the tax cap and that is really a good discussion question,” said Koetzle. “One of the questions that I get sometimes, ‘Well, why stay under the tax cap? It is artificial.’ … That is something the board is going to have to talk about.”
Raising costs of state mandates, health insurance and pension costs are falling alongside declining revenue expected for the town.
In order to maintain services at the level residents are accustomed to, Koetzle said, they’d have to pay for it. During his presentation he stated out of every dollar from residents’ 2011 Real Property Tax, only 8.1 percent goes toward to the town. The remainder has 2.5 percent toward highway, 23.1 percent to Schenectady County and 66.3 percent to the school taxes (using 2010 school figures).
For each 2 percent increase in the tax levy, he said, the average town resident would see a $10 increase to their tax bill. If Koetzle gave the department heads everything they asked for in their budgets for 2012, he said there would be around a 5 percent tax levy increase.