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Lower assessments mean higher tax rate for Lake Placid

June 1, 2011
By NATHAN BROWN - Staff Writer ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

LAKE PLACID - An $8 million decline in the village's assessed value since last year means the property tax rate is set to go up 2.61 percent from this year.

The increase, from roughly $5.28 to $5.42 per $1,000 of assessed value, would raise the annual tax bill for a $180,000 home from $950.40 to $975.60, approximately.

The tax levy (the amount to be raised in taxes) would go up $42,172, or 1.28 percent, in the proposed 2011-12 budget Mayor Craig Randall unveiled Tuesday night.

Amid a national real estate slump, the assessed value of property within the village has dropped 1.29 percent since last year, to about $650 million, according to the tentative assessment roll filed May 1. Randall said he has been told this total assessment will probably be even lower in the final roll filed on July 1. Every $1 million drop will represent an additional 7.5 cents per $1,000 of assessed value increase in the tax rate.

Average residential assessments declined almost 5 percent, while commercial properties stayed the same or went up.

Randall said there wouldn't be any tax increase in the upcoming budget if it weren't for the decline in assessments.

Spending in the general fund is up 4.8 percent to $5,406,188. Randall attributed most of the increase to employee raises and rising health insurance and pension costs. He budgeted for a 10 percent increase in health insurance spending and a more than $200,000 increase in contributions to the state retirement system. The village's programs and services mostly would stay the same, Randall said.

The village's union employees will receive contractually required 3 percent raises. Randall also said he plans to give raises to non-union staff, who didn't receive them last year.

Randall didn't include two vacant positions in the police department and one unfilled wastewater treatment position in the budget. He said the board will have to decide, over the next month, whether to fill these positions.

Personnel-related costs make up 70 percent of the village budget, a proportion that has been increasing. Randall said after the meeting that the village will have to rein these costs in as it negotiates future labor agreements.

"It's contract costs that have us right by the neck," he said.

Water, sewer and electric rates will stay the same.

"We're managing with the revenues that come in," Randall said.

Sewer rates could go up in the future, due to additional debt after the trunk sewer line at Power Pond is completed, but Randall said this wouldn't happen until the 2013-2014 fiscal year. He also said the village has applied to the New York Power Authority for a rate review, which will likely happen some time in the coming year.

The public hearing on the budget will be at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, June 13, before the regular board meeting. Randall said the board will likely adopt the budget at its June 27 meeting, in time for the fiscal year starting July 1.



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