Town Board OKs bud­get with tax cap over­ride

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - KICKOFF - By Wil­liam J. Kem­ble news@free­manon­line.com

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.

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