LAKE PLACID - The town of North Elba's 2013 budget will likely come in under the state's 2 percent tax cap.
As of last week, the tentative budget includes expenditures of $7,148,934, according to the town's budget officer, Catherine Gregory. That would be an increase of about 4.3 percent over this year, she said.
"The biggest increase in spending for everything is our health insurance - it went up 17 percent," Gregory said. "That's a pretty significant amount, and it has the biggest effect on our highway fund because that's the smallest budget."
Gregory said the town's calculated tax levy limit is $3,982,735, meaning the town can increase its levy by 1.92 percent in 2013. She said the budget, in its current form, would come in under the tax cap.
The town is currently planning to use about $535,000 in fund balance to meet the tax cap. That would leave the town with a projected fund balance of approximately $1.5 million in 2013, Gregory said.
Gregory said in the eyes of the state comptroller's office, the town's fund balance would be "healthy" next year.
"The healthy fund balances are actually in the general fund and the highway fund," she said. "The (North Elba) Park District is still struggling."
At a recent joint meeting of the North Elba town board and the Lake Placid village Board of Trustees, town Supervisor Roby Politi said the park district, which funds maintenance and upkeep at Olympic venues, village parks and the Mirror Lake beach, is facing a budget shortfall because its only revenue source is property taxes. Politi said the village may need to chip in more toward funding operations at the beach.
The tentative budget includes negotiated 2.5 percent raises for union employees as well as 2 percent raises for a majority of non-union employees, Gregory said. The raises for non-union workers are subject to board approval, she said, while the union wages have been approved in a new contract.
"The elected officials are maintaining the same (salaries) as last year, except for the highway superintendent, town clerk and full-time assessor," Gregory said. "Those three elected positions would be 2 percent (raises)."
Politi said that in the early stages of the budgeting process, the spending plan was projected to exceed the tax cap "substantially."
"There were a lot of departmental wishes, and an awful lot of those departmental wishes were cut," he said. "We're going to have to make some revenue decisions, (and) we're going to have to use some fund balance to try and maintain that cap."
Contact Chris Morris at 891-2600 ext. 25 or cmorris@