“If we fall behind in any of that we’re only asking for trouble, it will cost more in the future,” said Barrett.
Like all municipalities, Clifton Park is facing rising costs. The town’s payments into the state retirement system are anticipated to jump more than $200,000 next year, and retiremenet costs have already tripled since 2010.
“… you get a bill from New York state and it wipes out a large part of what the savings was (in reducing the workforce), but it’s a reality we have to face,” said Barrett.
In a reversal of the common trend, the town’s health insurance costs dropped in 2012 from $1.5 million to $1.2 million after benefits were renegotiated with unions. The town has lost 10 employees over the past several years — one to a layoff and the rest to attrition. Barrett added that savings also came from switching the position of community development director from a full- to part-time position, saving $40,000.
“Every day we look for ways to save money. Sometimes it’s $500, sometimes is $40,000. No matter what the amount is, it all adds up,” said Barrett.
The supervisor scheduled a $650,000 use of the town's $11 million fund balance. Better-than-expected sales tax receipts mean it is unlikely the savings will have to be used this year, according to town officials.