Reassessment pushback delays Lake Placid village budget

Tax levy won’t exceed 2% cap

LAKE PLACID — The village board is waiting until property assessments are finished before it can propose a final budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year.

Right now, the budget is tentative, meaning it can still be reworked. The village’s tax cap this year is 2 percent, and the proposed $3,728,498 tax levy would match that increase from the current year.

The tentative tax rate would decrease from this current year’s 5.8 percent to 5.4 percent per $1,000 assessed property value; however, that doesn’t mean taxes would be lower because the total assessed value of taxable village property has increased from $627,797,732 to $689,280,029. That’s nearly 10 percent. The tax rate is found by dividing the levy by the total assessed value.

The proposed expenditures would increased 6.3 percent from this year’s $5,963,878 to $6,365,157. The appropriated fund balance is proposed to increase from $269,914 to $479,000.

Spending amounts might rise in some areas and decrease in others, but the levy will not surpass the tax cap, said village Treasurer Paul Ellis.

There will be a public hearing regarding the budget Monday, June 18 at the North Elba Town Hall, 2693 Main St. The new fiscal year starts on Aug. 1, but the board will have decided whether to approve the budget by July 1.

There have been some delays in preparing a final budget this year because of pushback to property assessments.

“There’s a higher volume in requested changes of assessments this year,” Ellis said. “Because more people are looking to have assessments reduced, the budget process has taken more time.”

North Elba Assessor Todd Anthony said this was expected because all property in the town, including in the village of Lake Placid, went through a full reassessment, which explains the nearly $62 million increase in village tax rolls.

“Every property had the opportunity to be changed, and many did,” he said.

Anthony said the last time the village went through a full assessment was in 2012, and he described that one as “not very thorough.” He said it’s not uncommon to see a rise in grievances when a full reassessment is done. He couldn’t provide an exact number, but Anthony said there was about 120 grievances filed this year.

“Some people wanted reviews,” he said. “Some people just wanted the education. Other people who hadn’t had their values change for 10 years were taken aback, but a big portion of this was education.”

Anthony said the reassessment process is done, but the data is yet to be filed.

Ellis said the major projects the budget would fund would be road and sidewalk renovations. These improvements would be paid “in-house,” he said.

“That doesn’t mean we wouldn’t hire a contractor. It just means that we wouldn’t take out bonds or borrow any money.”