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Niskayuna set to raise taxes 3%

Senior programming praised with call for more staff; 2013 budget at tax cap

— Resident Lorene Zabin also applauded senior center programming, but claimed the town’s budget wasn’t a “true and meaningful budget” and doesn’t reflect the actual needs of the town. She said the town is bonding for purchases or expenses outside of emergency needs.

“Some of those things that were bonded last year, I felt, should have been in your budget,” Zabin said. “We should have been forewarned that we need police cars or we needed trucks for the highway. Those are constant things; those aren’t emergency things unless they’re accidents.”

She urged the board to “seriously” consider the needs for next year, so expenses can be better budgeted for.

Resident Bruce Trachtenberg applauded the board for its management of the town, but said more police officers should be hired.

Trachtenberg claimed a new police officer requires six months of academy and 18 months of working alongside another officer before being ready to work alone. He said many officers on staff could retire at any time.

“I have no problem with an increase in taxes, I’m probably in the minority ... but I’d love to see three new police officers every year for the next 10 years,” Trachtenberg said.

Landry said after the meeting new police officers don’t require two years before going on patrol by themselves. He said the town would address retirements as they occur.

Landry said the town would be reviewing the budget to make sure everything is correct, but major changes are unlikely. Most of the changes are “clean-ups” between the original to current budget proposal, he said.

“From the tentative to the preliminary we instituted a lot of our changes,” Landry said. “We will do a final check and look at the comments made this evening, consider them and then we may or may not make minor changes.”

General fund appropriations increased almost $41,000 from the tentative to preliminary budget. This was offset by revenues increasing the same amount, in the building alteration permits account for the majority at a $35,000 increase to total $175,000.

The tax rate per $1,000 of assessed property value would increase by about 5 cents to $2.45. The non-homestead tax rate would decrease by 5 cents to a total of $4.99 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

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