By JIMMY LAWTON
OGDENSBURG – Ogdensburg City Council passed a budget Monday that will raise the tax levy by more than $120,000 and increases the tax rate by about 11 cents to $19.77 per $1,000 of assessed property value.
The city had hoped to stay below the tax cap, but changes Monday put the city about $20,000 over the cap.
The $20.5 million budget eliminates 2 parks and recreation jobs, two department of public works jobs and one police officer job, all through attrition.
An earlier version of the budget would have eliminated two police positions, but councilors Monday opted to cut the library budget by $30,000 and reduce the police overtime line by $10,000 in order to restore one of the police positions, which is estimated at about $42,000.
That decision came after Ogdensburg patrolman Corey Maxner and Chief Andrew Kennedy explained that the police force has been working short-handed. Both explained that long hours and forced overtime are wearing out the force, causing a reduction in productivity and ticket revenues and raising safety concerns.
Water rates are increasing $33.50 per year, or 10 percent.
The annual flat rate for 2017 is $334, billed in two $167 payments. For 2018 the annual flat rate will be $367.50, billed in two $183.75 payments.
Sewer rates are increasing $37 per year, or 10 percent. The annual flat rate for 2017 is $368, billed in two $184 payments. For 2018 the annual flat rate will be $405, billed in two $202.50 payments.
Both the water and sewer rates have not increased in the past two years.
Another area expected to provide major savings for the city is a change in health insurance. The city plans to move away from being self-insured in 2018, which will eliminate the “huge financial risk exposure the city currently faces by not carrying stop-loss insurance, and also will provide improved management of medical costs,” Purdy said in her proposal.