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North Elba 2021 budget carries slight tax hike

Hearing set for next Thursday

LAKE PLACID — The town of North Elba’s preliminary budget carries a slight tax increase.

The town’s early budget draft shows a financial plan for 2021 that would meet the 1.9% state tax cap set for North Elba. The town’s budgets have either fallen below, or met, the tax cap since it was first implemented by the state in 2012.

If the budget is adopted as is, the town would levy — or collect — a total of $4,651,248 in property taxes, according to town Budget Officer Catherine Edman.

Provided the town uses about $161,000 of its general fund reserves to pay for expenses, the town has projected a general fund tax rate of 63 cents per $1,000 in assessed value next year, according to Edman. That’s an increase of 4 cents from this year. If the budget is adopted as is, a person with a $300,000 home would pay $189 toward general fund operations, not including other taxes from special districts. The rest of the budget will be paid for through things like fines, fees and aid.

General fund spending is projected to decrease by $186,460, from the $3,427,759 budgeted for this year to $3,241,299 next year, according to the preliminary budget document. Overall spending is projected to decrease by more than $2.07 million, from $11,729,733 this year to $9,654,654 next year. There are no major projects planned next year, with the exception of construction of new water tanks and lines in Ray Brook, which was already funded a few years ago, according to Edman. Though expenses are expected to decline, revenues are too, thus the need to raise taxes to make up the difference.

The North Elba Town Council will hear public comment on the preliminary budget on Thursday, Nov. 5 at 2 p.m. Those who want to comment can visit https://www.gotomeet.me/TownofNorthElba/town-of-north-elba-workshop at the time of the meeting or call in at 1-872-240-3212 with access code 287-666-061.

The budget is subject to change before it’s adopted by the town council.

A public hearing on a law allowing the town to override the state tax cap will be held at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10. Passing a law like this is a precautionary measure that’s common in many other towns. It often doesn’t signal a municipality’s intent to exceed the tax cap but gives lawmakers the ability to if necessary. North Elba town councilors have repeatedly said that it’s not the town’s intent to go over the tax cap. Holding a public hearing on this measure is required by law. Those who want to participate in this hearing can visit https://www.gotomeet.me/TownofNorthElba/board-meeting at the time of the hearing, or call 1-571-317-3122, access code 350-598-109.

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