New Scotland’s $7.16M budget within tax cap

Town Board adopts spending plan raising taxes 1.7 percent, reserves tapped for $334k

— Despite revenues budgeted to only increase around $34,000, or less than 1 percent, New Scotland’s 2014 budget is increasing taxes within the politically-touted 2 percent limit.

The New Scotland Town Board on Wednesday, Nov. 13, unanimously adopted next year’s budget totaling almost $7.16 million and holds an overall property tax levy increase of 1.7 percent. Minimal changes were made from the supervisor’s tentative budget proposal, with the adopted plan decreasing expenses around $20,000.

Town Supervisor Tom Dolin said staying within the town’s state-imposed property tax cap was a “struggle” because there isn’t much that can be cut to lower expenses while not effecting town services.

“The increase in the pension contributions and the increase in the health insurance premiums just about consumed the recommended increase,” Dolin said. “We already rely on several part-time employees to save (money), so it is going to be difficult to obtain savings based on retirements or layoffs.”

Expenditures across the town’s four main funds is increasing by $12,370, which totals nearly $5.79 million and accounts for 80 percent of the budget. The remainder of the budget comes from special districts — fire, water, sewer and emergency medical service — totaling $1.37 million, which is increasing $21,200.

The budget drains nearly $334,000 from fund balances, but the town officials are projecting more than $2.59 million will remain in reserves, which is still around 30 percent of its 2014 budget.

This year, the town budgeted around $375,000 from its fund balance, but its four main funds will actually see $146,000 going into reserve accounts, according to town officials. Dolin previously said the town’s fund balances have increased over a five-year period.

Town employees are receiving a 1 percent cost-of-living-allowance salary increase. Town judges will also be receiving a $15,000 salary increase, Dolin said, because their workloads are increasing in April as the Village of Voorheesville closes its court and transfers duties to the town.

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