Town Board OKs budget with tax cap override
The Esopus Town Board has approved a $4.2 million budget for 2017 that increases spending by 4.8 percent and the property tax levy by 5.3 percent.
The $2.84 million tax levy is larger than the maximum allowed by the state, so the board voted last month to override the cap. The state would allow an increase from the 2016 level of no more than $37,000. The new budget, though, increases the tax levy by $143,741.
“We have lived underneath the tax cap for a long time, and it’s about time that the employees got raises,” said town accountant Brian Pickard.
“We did a good job keeping our expenses to a minimum, and the things that we didn’t have control over pushed us over the tax cap,” he said.
All elected officials in the town will getting raises of about 2 percent next year. They include the supervisor, the four Town Board members, the highway superintendent, the clerk and the two justices.
The budget was approved Monday evening after a public hearing that drew no comments.
The 2017 spending plan includes, among other things:
• $755,622 for employee benefits, up 6.5 percent from 2016.
• $508,560 for sewer administration, up 2.5 percent.
• $507,299 for the Port Ewen Fire District, up 5.3 percent.
• $365,934 for Highway Department machinery, up 35.1 percent.
• $145,150 for refuse removal, down 4.8 percent.
• $51,553 for recreation and playgrounds, down 8 percent.