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Harrietstown budget hearing set for Thursday

October 24, 2012
By CHRIS KNIGHT - Senior Staff Writer ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

SARANAC LAKE - The town of Harrietstown will hold a public hearing Thursday night on the $4.6 million preliminary town budget for next year.

The latest version of the budget, following a series of town board budget workshops in the last few weeks, contains a tax levy increase that's under the state's 2 percent property tax cap.

The amount of the budget to be raised by taxes stands at $1,982,403, an increase of 0.7 percent, or $13,393 over the current levy. When the budget was first presented earlier this month, the levy increase was 0.6 percent, or $11,803.

If the preliminary budget is adopted as is, total spending would increase 9 percent, or $384,520, over 2012's $4,258,020. The tentative budget contained an 8.6 percent, or $367,930, increase in spending.

The tax rate for town residents inside the village of Saranac Lake would increase by a fraction of a penny, from $1.268 per $1,000 of assessed property value to $1.27 per $1,000. Outside the village, town taxpayers would see their tax rates increase two-and-a-half cents from $2.57 to $2.595 per $1,000.

Town Budget Officer Mike Kilroy said the board made a handful of changes to the budget since it was first presented.

Fact Box

What: Public hearing on the town of Harrietstown's preliminary 2013 budget

When: 6:45 p.m. Thursday

Where: Harrietstown Town Hall, 39 Main St., Saranac Lake

It cut $47,000 that had been budgeted as the salary for an assistant manager at the town-owned Adirondack Regional Airport in Lake Clear. The position has been vacant for a year.

However, the budget would increase the salary of airport Manager Corey Hurwitch by 7.76 percent or $4,500, from $58,000 to $62,500. The preliminary budget also includes funding for six full-time line service technicians at the airport instead of the five full-timers and one half-timer it had this year.

Highway Superintendent Craig Donaldson's pay would be increased by the same percentage as Hurwitch, going from $53,782 to $57,955.

All other town employees, excluding town board members, would get 3 percent raises, except for town Assessor Doug Tichenor, who opted to give 1 percent of his 3 percent raise to his clerk, whose pay will increase 4 percent.

Among other expenses, Kilroy said the board kept the highway department's capital improvement line, which is used for road repairs and blacktopping, at $40,000. Donaldson had requested $50,000. Donaldson had also sought $60,000 for purchase of new equipment, but the board reduced that to $50,000, the same amount that's in this year's budget.

The budget for airport capital projects was $78,000 in the tentative budget. The latest version of the budget reduces that to $65,000, which would be spent on roof repairs for the airport terminal building and other projects.

Prior to a 6:45 p.m. hearing on the budget Thursday, the town board will host another public hearing at 6:30 on a local law that would allow the board to exceed the state's property tax cap if necessary. Kilroy said it's just a formality; the board would have to add another $26,000 to the budget to go over the cap, which he said is unlikely.



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