Budget Workshop

Town taxes will be going up.

 

Officials met Sept. 16 for the second time in a town budget workshop and concluded with a budget that raises the tax rate by 3.02 percent…

The budget document to come out of the meetings is considered a draft and must be brought before the board, approved as a tentative budget and then have comments heard from the public during a public hearing before the budget could be voted on by the Granville Town Board in November.

The amount of budget-to-budget change in expenditures dropped $60,680, budget officer Joel Carpenter said.

Carpenter said the reason the budget did not soar this year was transfers made by the board from reserves. These transfers covered the large increases in the highway town-wide fund from last year, when costs of fuel, salt and sand skyrocketed as the region was pelted with continual ice storms.

“That’s why you’re not seeing such a huge increase, the transfers,” Carpenter said.

For the town’s expenditures to drop, but the tax rate to increase, revenues have to decrease.

Carpenter said he was projecting various items to come in lower than the previous year with interest income rates down, state aid projected to be down for items like CHIPS highway money and other state aid as well as mortgage tax revenue. 

Supervisor Rodger Hurley said the latest draft of the budget contains a raise for all of the fire district fire departments as well as including $2,500 to contribute toward the operation of the Senior Shuttle.

Fire fighters will see an increase of 4 cents per thousand for each Granville fire department. The fire rate increase represented “an increase in the support for one of those primary intuitions for public safety,” Hurley said.

“I think the town budget is lean, spare and has had a lot of attention given to it by the town government and people and I think that despite the fact that one would wish that it did not go up at all, we are pleased that we could come up with the 3 percent increase,” Hurley said. “Particularly given the extraordinary increase in the costs of salt, sand and diesel fuel, something like a 100 percent increase, I think, and to be able to get through that and only come up with 3 percent increased, I’m pleased.” Hurley said. 

Hurley said the hard work that went into bringing together a budget with a 3 percent increase after the winter of 2007-2008 and the soaring cost it brought with it reflects the leadership of highway superintendent John Tanner, budget officer Joel Carpenter and town clerk Jenny Martelle. Hurley called work they put into the budget, “Substantive and real.”

At the end of the budget workshop Hurley credited the board and previous supervisor John Cosey with being fiscally responsible in controlling the town’s tax rate. 

Former board member Ron Barrett said he had been at the first budget workshop and said he had been disappointed with what he heard from the new supervisor Hurley.

Barrett said he was surprised to hear Hurley suggest that the tax increase for the town, projected to come in at about a 3 percent increase, could be moved up to 4 percent to help replenish the town’s financial reserves. That suggestion was shot down by the board, he said.

“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Here he campaigned on lowering taxes and he’s talking about raising them,” Barrett said.

Former supervisor John Cosey attended each meeting to monitor progress on funding for the Senior Shuttle. Cosey brought in $15,000 in operating funds from Sen. Betty Little’s office for the shuttle. 

Box:

Changes, budget-to-budget

General town wide – down $33

Highway town wide – down $54,889

General outside – up $3,825

Highway outside – down $20,936

Water district – down $157

Fire districts – up, middle $4,315; north $3,154; south $4,057

Lighting district – north, down $16; middle, same

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