Budget work sessions plan cuts; public hearing is Oct. 29
By Margo Frink
(Town of Lenox, NY – Oct. 2012) The town of Lenox will hold a public hearing Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. on its 2013 budget and a public hearing on the Local Law to override the state’s 2 percent tax cap due to the upgrades made on the South Shore Sewer District.
The current budget is just in its tentative stages and does not include sales tax revenue collected this quarter, according to town Supervisor and Lenox Budget Officer Rocco DiVeronica. He said sales tax revenues are up this quarter from what was projected but he could not provide an exact number.
Before additional changes, the tax rate shows increases across the board up 30 percent outside the district from $1.48 per $1,000 of assessed value to $1.95; up 27 percent inside the village from $1.84 to $2.35; and up 371 percent in the village of Wampsville from $.14 to $.69 per $1,000 of assessed value.
“I’ve already cut $47,000 out [of the budget],” DiVeronica said. “We are trying to get [the tax rate] to last year’s [figures]. If we can keep the tax rate the same and still provide the same services we’re doing great.”
Driving the budget of $1.8 million, which excludes special districts and fire protection, is the rising cost of retirement benefits and health insurance, DiVeronica said. A couple of years ago, the board approved a resolution requiring any new full-time employees to contribute 15 percent toward their health plan.
“People got to pay a little more of this,” DiVeronica said, referring to health insurance premiums.
Cut from the budget was money for parks by a total of $6,200 from last year’s budget. More money was budgeted last year for some highway expenses than is included in the 2013 budget although the debt service doubled largely due to the upgrades at the highway garage.
The total tax levy including special districts is a little more than $1.7 million. Increases to the South Shore Sewer District, due to upgrades at the plant have increased those district’s budgets. South Shore 1 will see an increase of $10,000, South Shore 2 of around $9,000 and South Shore 3 of more than $12,000.
DiVeronica did not have the total dollar amount of upgrade costs available at press time.
Employee increases are included in the 2013 budget and amounts to $13,000. Town councilors and the town attorney will receive no increase, however the budget shows salary increases for the justice department of $4,240 for a total of $105,240; the town supervisor from $58,435 to $61,852 (which includes the town secretary’s salary) the tax collector from $21,907 to $26,838, the highway superintendent from $58,546 to $59,861 and the town clerk from $52,843 to $55,070.
The assessor’s salary shows a reduction from $60,390 to $59,309 and less money has been budgeted for the control of dogs.
The tentative tax levy is a little more than $1.3 million.
The budget is available to the public at the town office.
Margo Frink is vice president of M3P Media LLC and publisher of the Madison County Courier. She can be reached at Margo@m3pmedia.com or 315-481-8732.