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Village officials expect to meet property tax cap

May 25, 2012

LAKE PLACID - Village officials here say they expect the 2012-13 budget to meet the state's new property tax cap.

Mayor Craig Randall presented the tentative village budget during Monday night's regular Board of Trustees meeting. He received departmental budgets last week and released the proposed spending plan to trustees last Thursday.

The budget would increase total spending by about $38,000, or 0.75 percent, to about $5.4 million. The proposed tax levy is $3.389 million, an increase of about $56,000, or 1.68 percent, over the current year.

"As much as I tried to make this a no-increase number, the dynamics in this budget wouldn't allow it," Randall told trustees. "This is based on a continuation in the decline of taxable assessed value."

Randall said the tentative tax roll is down by 1.88 percent to about $11.5 million. The tentative tax rate in the 2012-13 budget is $5.63 per $1,000 of assessed value. That's a 20 cent increase, and 10 cents of that comes from change in assessed valuation, Randall said.

He said the village should consider saving the 0.32 percent of "wiggle room" under the tax cap in case assessment numbers change between now and the end of June.

There wasn't much discussion on the tentative budget Monday night, but trustees only had three days to review it. Randall said he expects more discussion in the coming weeks.

The mayor said he didn't make many changes to departments' requests.

"They did a pretty fine job," Randall said.

There are some significant items that don't appear in the tentative budget, including a new police patrol car, a lease for a new trolley and the hiring of a senior account clerk. Randall said they are all important but he decided to leave them out for now.

"I'm not saying they couldn't come back, but we need to be careful," he said. "I don't want to exceed 2 percent, and I don't think we need to."

The switch to a new high-deductible health insurance plan by several members of the police force has already saved the village money, Randall noted. He said he anticipates more savings in the future when other village employees will be allowed to enroll in the program later this year.

Randall said worker compensation costs are up despite the village's strong safety rating.

The tentative budget wouldn't increase water rates, and sewer rates would also remain comparable to the current year, Randall said.

Randall said the village's work force has been streamlined and benefit costs have been cut wherever possible. In 2010, the village had the equivalent of 81.6 full-time positions. That number jumped slightly in 2011 to 83.3, although that figure includes two positions that were never hired. The 2012-13 budget plans for the equivalent of 78.92 full-time positions.

"I think that's important," Randall said. "That's a trend we've been working very diligently at: giving departments the resources to do the work but reducing the size of the village staff."

A public hearing on the tentative budget has been set for June 4. Randall said that gives the board nearly a month to make changes based on public input.

The budget must be approved by July 1, which is a Sunday, so the board may need to set a special meeting to approve and adopt it.

Contact Chris Morris at 891-2600 ext. 25 or




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