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Tentative TL village budget has 28% tax levy hike

April 2, 2012
By JESSICA COLLIER and PETER CROWLEY - staff , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

TUPPER LAKE - An early, tentative version of the village budget has spending and the tax levy increasing dramatically, but the tax rate dropping due to a recent, town-wide property revaluation.

The amount the village would raise in taxes is projected to go up 28.2 percent, from $1.6 million this fiscal year to $2.1 million in 2012-12.

The village board would have to pass a local law allowing itself to exceed the state-imposed tax levy cap of 2 percent. The board plans to set a hearing on exceeding the cap, to be held in conjunction with the annual budget hearing, on April 13. Then, at the board's regular meeting on April 16, members will schedule budget workshops with department heads. The final budget has to be adopted by May 1.

Spending is proposed to increase by about 9.9 percent in the budget for the coming fiscal year, which starts June 1 and runs through May 31, 2013.

But the tax rate would go down by 1.8 percent, or 28.2 cents per $1,000 assessed property value, due to the recent town property revaluation. The proposed new rate is $15.263 per $1,000; this past year's was $15.545. It has been as high as $17.241 in 2006-07.

If a person's home value stayed at $100,000 through last year's revaluation, that person would pay $1,526.30, $28.20 less in village property taxes next year than this year.

Fact Box

By the #s

Village of Tupper Lake tentative budget for 2012-13

$2,627,109.50Up 9.9% from 2011-12
$2,099,066.50Up 28.2%, $461,398 from 2011-12
$15.263 per $1,000 assessed property valueDown 1.8%, 28.2 cents from 2011-12


If you go ...

What: Public hearing on village budget and law to exceed the tax cap

When: 4 p.m. Friday, April 13

Where: Village board room, 53 Park St., Tupper Lake

But the total, taxable value of property in the village increased by 30.5 percent in the revaluation, up $32.2 million from $105,347,054 last year to $137,525,069 now. So if the $100,000 house followed that track and increased in value to $130,500, its property tax bill for the coming year, if the proposed budget is adopted, would be $1,991.82, up about $450.


Mayor's comments

Village Mayor Paul Maroun, who started the job in December, said he thinks it's a flaw in the tax cap legislation that it doesn't make allowances for a revaluation that lets the village bring in more money.

He said that just because more money is coming in with more property value, it doesn't mean the village is going to spend it all.

He also said he thinks there may be ways to get the tax levy under the cap, such as appropriating some left-over fund balance - none is appropriated for next year's budget yet. But he and other village officials want to hold a hearing and be prepared to override the cap in case it ends up being necessary.

"If we can get under that (2 percent) figure, we'll do it," Maroun said.



The current version of the budget includes several items that would inflate the village's spending:

-Increases in pension costs: 4.2 percent for police and 2.6 percent for other union members.

-An increase in health insurance costs. The village has proposed a 15 percent increase for January through May 2013. The board is still negotiating contracts with its unions.

-Building improvements, including repairing wind damage to the top floor of the village offices, doing some repainting of the building and other minor fixes.

-Restoring a police officer position, bringing the department back up to nine officers, where it was a year ago.

-Legal costs for a tax grievance from the company that owns the former Rite Aid building next door to the village offices.

-The 2012-13 fiscal year will include 53 pay periods the way the calendar works out, so that adds another week of $22,000 in payroll than what the village normally deals with.

-The village also has committed to contribute $15,000 to the events coordinator position being run by the chamber of commerce.

-$12,400 as the second half of costs for a study of the feasibility of building a new fire hall.

-A $10,000 match for a grant the fire department is applying for to get a new cascade breathable air system.

-Some money for replacing light fixtures and running electric and water lines in the Municipal Park, which would act as a match for the $225,000 grant Tupper Lake got for waterfront revitalization in the park.



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