Town tax levy could rise as much as 8.7%
The town’s tentative budget for 2017 would raise the property tax levy by almost 7 percent.
The budget totals $5,451,641, an increase of 3.3 percent over the 2016 level.
The budget calls for a tax levy increase of 6.93 percent, but that jumps to 8.7 percent if voters approve increased funding for the Phoenicia Library.
Town Supervisor Rob Stanley said an increase in ambulance costs played a significant role in the budget and tax levy rising.
A federal labor ruling about the way town ambulance employees must be paid has caused an increase of nearly $51,000 in ambulance payroll, which is to total $375,000 next year. The town’s total cost for ambulance services in 2017 will be $389,500, a jump of 15.7 percent from this year.
An increase in workers’ compensation costs also are driving the town budget hike. They’re slated to rise from $90,000 this year to $130,000 in 2017.
At Monday night’s meeting of the Shandaken Town Board, town resident Kathy Nolan said some lines in the budget should be reconsidered.
“A lot of this is due to increase in salaries,” she said of the overall cost increase. “It’s just too much. I know everybody works hard, but there has to be a balancing somewhere. … Go through the budget and try to bring it down.”
Salary increases in the budget include 8 percent each for the town supervisor and town clerk, 4.6 percent for each for the two town justices, 4.2 percent for the highway superintendent, 3.5 percent for the assessor chairman and 3.7 percent each for the other two assessors.
Funding for the Phoenicia Library is proposed to increase from $94,000 this year to $162,000 next year. That plan goes to voters in November. The town budget is voted on solely by the Town Board.
A public hearing on the town budget is to be held at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 9 in the Shandaken Town Hall on Route 28 in Allaben. The hearing will be followed immediately by a Town Board meeting at which the budget could be adopted.