Haff: one percent due to outside factors
The Hartford Town Board continues its frugal ways as the budget passed at its October meeting will increase by just one percent.
Supervisor Dana Haff said just one year after dropping the tax levy 15 percent, the levy will just miss remaining flat and rise just about one percent for 2012.
“I think we’ve done a pretty good job seeing we’ve had a 9 percent increase in health insurance and an 18 percent increase in the New York State retirement system,” Haff said.
The increase will mostly come from the town’s increased payment into the Washington County workman’s compensation system, Haff said.
After one worker was injured and missed work last year the town’s payments into the system will double to nearly $15,000, the most allowable by law, he said. “Without the ‘comp’ it’s zero,” Haff said of the levy increase.
The $1.2 million budget will require $880,008 to be raised in taxes. The town will use $61,188 from fund balance to keep the tax levy down, Haff said.
The budget remained nearly the same as the tentative, but Haff said officials decided against including $35,000 which had been earmarked for a new one-ton pickup.
Instead of purchasing the truck, Haff said the board consulted with highway superintendent Gregory Brown and decided to redistribute some of that money, $10,000 into the budget in various line items and not use $25,000 from the general fund.
The tax levy amount is up just $1,360 over 2011, Haff said, which is the 1 percent raise in the fire company funding required by the Hartford Volunteer Fire Department’s new contract with the town.
The department will see a two-percent raise next year to total three percent after having a no increase in 2010.
Although Hartford will not have an issue with the two-percent tax cap passed into law by the administration of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Haff was critical of the cap nonetheless. “I think it’s important that people know what’s going on,” he said.
Haff said increases beyond the control of town boards in the county drive much of the increase boards will struggle with such as payment into the state’s retirement system. “That two percent doesn’t go to the town it goes to the state or county monster,” Haff said.
The budget passed the board after few residents commented during the public hearing at the Oct. 11 meeting.