By ANDY GARDNER
MASSENA -- Residents can look forward to a decrease on their tax bills over last year. The Town Council voted unanimously to adopt a final 2014 budget that calls for a 14 percent reduction for town taxpayers and a 5 percent reduction on village tax bills.
Under the spending plan, a $50,000 piece of property in the village will be taxed at roughly $211.50 – which is $19.80 less than last year; a $100,000 piece of property in the town will be taxed at roughly $423 – a $67.50 decrease over last year. Overall, the village would levy $230,567.17 less than last year.
The tax figures are approximate because the board voted to make a few alterations to the preliminary budget that will have a minimal impact on the tax rate.
“It won’t be very much,” Bookkeeper Nancy Fregoe said, adding that she will have the new rates today.
Several groups that get town funding approached the board asking for more money, but they didn’t get it.
“I felt, and I think the board agreed with me, that we funded the agencies to the best of the town’s ability,” Town Supervisor Joseph Gray said. “It’s not what we had hoped for … we’re under no obligation to pay but it makes sense because … they provide valuable services to the community.”
The changes between the preliminary and the final spending plan include:
Salaries for Councilmen Albert Nicola, Thomas Miller, John Macaulay, and Councilman-elect Samuel Carbone Jr. will stay at $5,000 – they had been slated for a $1,000 raise.
Town Clerk Georgette Davis will receive a 2 percent raise for a salary of $40,944. She had been penciled in at a 6 percent bump.
Davis will receive $8,000 for her service as registrar – she was tentatively given $7,450.26.
The fire contract will cost $3,000 more than originally budgeted.
Town Supervisor Joseph Gray said Davis’ raise is on par with other non-union town employees.
“The town clerk works full-time, we don’t,” he said. “It’s the same 2 percent increase that other non-union members get.”
Gray said he is satisfied with the overall budget.
“I’m very pleased. The budget is vastly unchanged, for the most part, from the draft budget I gave to the board,” he said. “I think in the end it’s a very solid budget – it gets the job done and reduces taxes.”
The town will spend a total of $17,701,509 on the general, highway and library funds, as well as fire protection and the water and sewer districts under the preliminary spending blueprint. Taxes will raise $2,412,844.72 of that.