VERMONTVILLE - In a straw poll at a public hearing Thursday evening, 12 members of the public said they approved of the town of Franklin's proposed 2010 budget, and one abstained.
The property tax levy would increase by 2.13 percent if the budget is adopted as is, to $1,065,172, a $41,000 increase over 2009. The tax rate would increase from $7.50 per $1,000 in assessed property value to $7.66.
Total spending for the highway fund would increase $42,410, or 4 percent, from $1,062,928 in the 2009 budget to $1,105,338 in 2010. The general fund would increase by $7,232, or 1.5 percent, from $472,078 in the 2009 budget to $479,310 in 2010.
As of Sept. 1, the highway fund had only spent $418,144 this year, or about 39 percent of what was budgeted for it. The general fund had spent $365,829, or 77 percent.
The town is budgeting $30,531 for its fire protection contract with the Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department for 2010, an 8 percent increase over 2009, and the contract with the Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department remains the same at $41,675.
The final budget must be filed with the Franklin County clerk before Nov. 20, meaning the town board needs to pass it before then.
Revenue from other sources has been lower so far this year than projected and is expected to be lower next year, said town budget officer Dick Meagher. For example, the town had expected $10,000 in interest from its bank accounts in the general fund in 2009, but only received $901.69 as of Sept. 1. The town had also expected $25,000 in mortgage tax revenue for 2009 but only received $11,393.61 as of Sept. 1. Overall, the town had received $181,717 as of Sept. 1 out of the $381,382 it had expected for revenue in the general and highway funds in the 2009 budget. The town is budgeting for $351,682 in revenue for 2010.
In the general fund, 46 of the line items stay the same as in 2009, 18 increase and 15 decrease. The biggest single line-item cut is $13,872 from contractual expenses from the assessor, a 60 percent cut. The biggest increase is $20,000 more for contractual expenses for the town garage, a 67 percent increase.
In the highway fund, 18 of the line items stay the same, two increase and three decrease. The biggest line-item increase is $50,000, or 50 percent, for equipment purchases, to be used for a payment on the highway department's tandem and to buy a new loader and pickup truck. The second-largest is $16,000 more for hospital and medical insurance, a 27 percent increase and an item the cost of which is rising for municipalities and school districts throughout the area. The biggest decrease is $16,852, or 58 percent, for unemployment insurance.
The salaries of highway department employees are still under negotiation, said town Supervisor Mary Ellen Keith, who will be replaced in January by Art Willman, who got more votes in last week's election.
Contact Nathan Brown at 891-2600 ext. 26 or email@example.com.