Lake Placid village board holds public hearing on budget Monday

LAKE PLACID — The village’s preliminary 2020-21 budget carries a slight tax increase.

The village is proposing to levy, or collect, $3,923,351 in taxes in the next fiscal year. That’s a $76,928 increase from the current fiscal year, putting the levy increase at 1.9%.

The property tax cap has not been established yet — it’s set to be confirmed by the state by June 26, according to Village Treasurer Mindy Goddeau — but it’s generally set at 2% or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower. The tax cap was established in 2011 and made permanent by the state Legislature in 2019.

If the budget is adopted as proposed, property owners who reside in the village would shoulder a tax rate increase of around 0.61% in the next fiscal year, from $5.66 to $5.70 per $1,000 in assessed property value. For a person whose home is assessed at $200,000, this means a tax increase of roughly $8.

That tax increase could be compounded for some property owners because assessed values in the village are again expected to rise.

Altogether, the taxable value of properties within the village is projected to increase by $9,352,775, or 1.3%. That could change in the next few weeks. The village’s tax roll has not been finalized yet.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, tax increase proposed by village officials is somewhat in line with budgets adopted in the past. Last year, when village officials pieced together the current year’s budget, a 3.16% levy increase and 1.6% tax rate increase were proposed.

The coronavirus pandemic has had widespread impacts on the local economy. For the village, much of the impact so far has come in the form of less water, sewer and electric usage. Most local hotels have either been closed for months or have limited occupancy to essential workers only, and that unexpected decline in utility use has meant less revenue for the village. So far, most of that revenue loss is expected to hit the current fiscal year, which ends in July for the village, rather than the next fiscal year.

“We’re hoping there’s not going to be another wave of this,” Goddeau said.

Because of the pandemic, the village has projected a loss in parking meter revenue next year and some decline in revenue from utility use.

The village plans to spend $149,612 more in the next fiscal year than in the current fiscal year. Total expenditures are projected at $6,668,894, with more than half of that paid for by property taxes. The village is planning to use $575,000 from its reserves.

Rather than increase property taxes, Goddeau said the village is planning to hold off on new projects and use more of reserves than in years past.

The village has a healthy fund balance, with around $6 million in reserves, according to Goddeau. That’s up from around $4.5 million last year. Part of that has been earmarked for upcoming infrastructure projects, such as a parking structure — if the construction of one is approved by the village board.

A public hearing on the budget is set for June 29 at 5 p.m. via phone and the GoToMeeting teleconferencing app.

The village will post dial-in information on its website and Facebook page ahead of the meeting.