Town budget hearing tonight; tax levy could rise 8.7%
A public hearing will be held this evening on the town of Shandaken’s proposed budget for 2017, which could increase the property tax levy by as much as 8.7 percent.
The hearing in scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the Town Hall on Route 28 in the hamlet of Allaben.
The size of the tax levy increase depends on the Phoenicia Library spending proposition that went before town voters on Tuesday. The ballot measure asked voters whether they favored Shandaken increasing its annual contribution to the library from $94,000 to $162,000, a jump of 72 percent.
Passage of the proposition would result in the town budget including a property tax levy increase of 8.7 percent. Defeat would result in a budget with a 6.9 percent hike in the levy.
Either way, town officials still could cut spending in other areas to bring down the size of the tax levy increase.
The Town Board is expected to vote on the budget, which tentatively stands at $5,451,641, immediately after tonight’s hearing.
Among significant increases in the budget are labor costs for the town ambulance department, which are rising because of a U.S. Department of Labor ruling about how employees are to be paid; and workers’ compensation costs.
The budget also calls for pay hikes for the town supervisor and clerk (from $33,300 to $36,000 per year each), the two town justices (from $17,928 to $18,750 each), the highway superintendent (from $47,975 to $50,000) and the three tax assessors (from $33,330 to $34,500 for the chairman, and from $5,303 to $5,500 for the other two).