Proposed Massena village budget would raise tax rate 9.2 percent
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - 5:36 pm

By ANDY GARDNER

MASSENA -- Despite cuts to a number of programs, the village's proposed budget calls for a 9.2-percent increase in the tax rate and a 9.7-percent increase in the tax levy.

That’s well above the state 2-percent state tax cap that the village board voted to exceed in February. A low fund balance and reduced income from property taxes are behind the need for the increase, village officials say.

At the 100-percent equalization rate, the new tax rate would be $15.71 per $1,000 of assessed value. That means the owner of a $50,000 home would be taxed $785.50 and the owner of a $100,000 home would pay $1,571 in taxes.

Mayor James Hidy's budget says the village would levy $5,699,763 in property taxes, which is $506,091 more than last year, or 9.7 percent.

The village would spend $9,112,404 under the proposed blueprint, a $220,508 hike, or 2.5 percent.

The proposed spending plan would use $390,405 to offset deficits in the water, sewer and refuse funds.

Water fund expenses would go up 1.4 percent, sewer costs would increase 0.6 percent and refuse costs would jump 3 percent.

The mayor and village trustees' salaries will remain the same. Village Clerk Patti Dumas is slated for a tentative 2.2-percent raise, bringing her salary to $29,373. Village Treasurer Julie Sharlow's salary would go up 10.4 percent, to a total of $40,266.

General government spending would increase by 3.3 percent, for a total of $1,048,757.

Both fire and police protection would cost more than last year. The fire contact would rise 3.6 percent to $89,315 and the village police department's budget is going up 6.5 percent to $1,845,833. The total proposed public safety budget is $2,736,407, or 4.4 percent more than last year.

Overall employee benefits would increase by 4.9 percent, to a new total of $3,081,247. Worker's compensation would take a 62.7-percent hike, to $234,903. Health insurance would go up 6.8 percent, to a new total of $1,694,738.

The proposed budget would slash the D.A.R.E. program, saving $4,000.

Transportation expenses took a 3.2-percent cut, to a new total of $1,445,354.

Community development spending would rise 15.2 percent, to $63,000.

Parks and recreation would take a 2.5 percent hit, with total spending at $413,084.

The board has budget workshops set for April 7, 8, 11, and 22. They may adopt a final budget on April 22.

If necessary, they will hold a final workshop on April 29. All start times are 5 p.m. in the town hall, 60 Main Street.