Town tax levy could rise as much as 8.7%

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Jay Bra­man Jr. news@free­manon­

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.

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