Charlestown anticipates slip tax boost in next budget
Proposes to hold property tax rate
— With the dust now settled in a lawsuit between the town and its marinas, officials are projecting to bring in tens of thousands next year from its boat slip tax passed five years ago.
On Wednesday night, the town’s $1.53 million proposed fiscal year 2017 budget was introduced to the public. The proposed budget is a 9 percent decrease from the current $1.69 million fiscal year budget.
The property tax is proposed to stay the same as last year at 0.3334 cents per $100 of assessed value. After the meeting, town administrator Wib Pumpaly said the projected revenue is $451,000 in property taxes and added the town is projected to bring in $447,758 for current fiscal year.
Pumpaly said the town is budgeted to bring in $46,428 in projected revenue in boat slip user fees this upcoming fiscal year, which includes the four ma-
rinas in town and the municipal pier, which leases 33 boat slips. The current tax is set at 5 percent of the slip costs not to exceed $100. Pumpaly added the leased user fees are expected to bring in about $1,000 because the cost to lease is about $30.
Last year, the owners of the Charlestown Marina, Leeds Marina and North East River Marina were not complying with the intent of the town’s slip tax, which was passed in 2011. The cost of a slip in town could run between $900 to $2,000, but the owners were itemizing the costs down to slips, administrative costs and amenities among other things before applying the tax to the slip cost, according to the town’s lawsuit.
On the other hand, the marinas argued that they were unfairly burdened by the tax, as town-owned slips face a much smaller bill and inherently set the market rate on a slip.
Last summer, the town and marinas went into mediation over the issue and reached a settlement.
During Wednesday’s meeting, town accountant Nick Trionfo said the town will eliminate the Special Revenue Fund, moving its monies to the general fund, because it is not self-sustaining. Among the fund’s proposes was street repair funding, but funding had to be pulled from other accounts to pay for upkeep of streets in recent years. He said the town will now have two accounts, the general fund and utility fund, rather than three.
Trionfo also reported the state gave the town a little under $16,000 for its Highway User funding. Pumpaly noted the town received close to $90,000 in Highway User funding seven years ago. The town anticipates receiving grant funding up to $42,000 next year.
Pumpaly said he is also investigation a possible expansion of the town cemetery near St. John’s United Methodist Church to create 50 more lots, which could result in $50,000 of newfound revenue.
One of the few new capital requests in the budget came from Pumpaly, who requested $75,000 for a new front loader and salt spreader. The board decreased the funding to $54,000, however, forcing the administrator to seek better deals or investigate financing the equipment.
A part-time code enforcement officer for the town was budgeted was budgeted for as well.
Renee Capano, board president, said she has no concerns for the proposed budget.
“Things are working out pretty well,” she said. “Everything seems to be on track.”
Mary Carol Durange, board vice president, and commissioner Bruce Hechmer were not in attendance. No residents came to the meeting.
The budget is scheduled to be considered at the board’s next meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Commercial boat slips in Charlestown, such as these at Lee’s Marina, will be a boost to the town budget now that the full slip tax will be applied in the upcoming fiscal year, officials reported.