Guilderland swiftly adopts $32M budget

Spending plan holds tax decrease, expenses and budgeted revenues increasing

— Days after a contentious election cycle, the Guilderland Town Board quietly adopted next year’s budget.

The Town Board held a public hearing on its proposed 2014 budget Thursday, Nov. 7, but no residents shared any remarks on the nearly $32.19 million spending plan. Following the lackluster hearing, the board unanimously approved the budget holding a tax levy decrease of approximately 1.4 percent, or just over $153,000.

Town Supervisor Ken Runion said the adopted budget falls around $415,000 below the town’s state imposed property levy tax cap.

“I think that just goes to show how well we are doing here,” Runion said.

Runion described the town as being in “great shape” financially even after coming out of the worst of the recession starting around 2008.

“We are seeing increased revenues. We have reduced our costs here, and so I think the future is very good for the town,” Runion said. “I think we are probably the only municipality in the Capital District that has a tax cut. If we continue to budget and monitor our costs the way we have we may see additional tax cuts in the upcoming years.”

Part of the tax levy decrease was achieved through an additional $195,000 of fund balance allocation, which totals more than $1.71 million.

The town’s reserve funds totaled approximately $14 million at the end of 2012, which has increased from around $11 million in 2009, according to Runion. Last year, the town’s fund balances increased by $2 million.

“We appropriate some of our fund balances every year, but we have not used the appropriated fund balances in the last three years,” Runion said. “We put it in there to make sure we keep our tax rates level.”

He also said revenues are “always” budgeted lower than what is actually realized.

“Our sales tax revenue is ahead of what we projected for last year,” he said, “and if that trend continues, we may not have to use the appropriate fund balance.”

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