LEBANON TOWN BOARD TO CONSIDER PRELIMINARY TOWN BUDGET WITH 2.6 PERCENT PROPERTY TAX INCREASE AND POTENTIAL TAX CAP OVERRIDE FOR 2019 AT OCTOBER 22 BUDGET WORKSHOP MEETING AT TOWN OFFICE
Town of Lebanon board members approved a preliminary 2019 town budget on Monday, Oct. 8, 2018 at the Smith Valley Community Center in Randallsville and will consider a tax cap override for 2019 given the proposed town budget would raise the local tax rate approximately 2.6 percent. Town officials will meet for a budget workshop on Monday, October 22 at 7:30 pm at the Town Office, 1210 Bradley Brook Road in the hamlet to consider any changes or additions.
The public is invited to attend.
Supervisor Goldstein attributes the increase to three primary factors:
- The significant rise in fuel prices that impact all kinds of highway expenses and inputs including fuel, sand, salt, hauling costs and plowing costs.
- A significant increase in the town local highway road repair budget requested by Highway Superintendent Alex Hodge to keep pace with road repairs and rising costs of road materials.
- An increase in the machinery and repair categories for the Highway budget due to the rising costs of highway machinery repairs and parts over the last few years.
Goldstein said much of the highway increase will be offset by the increase in local sales tax share from Madison County due to rising fuel prices but reminds all local residents to shop in Madison County as their sales tax expenditures help to reduce property tax costs and to make sure that they purchase fuel in locally owned gas stations in Madison County that collect sales tax. Goldstein says shopping local helps local business and also helps with the local tax rate.
The preliminary budget includes the following changes from 2018:
- The property tax rate would increase from $4.444 per $1,000 to $4.561 per $1,000. For the average home assessed at $100,000, this would represent an increase of approximately $12.
- The General Fund portion of the town budget would increase around $6,000 from $288,061 to $294,474, reflecting increases in state retirement, health insurance and property insurance as well as the new state requirement to fund a town justice court clerk part time at around $1,300 per year. Some of the Justice costs are offset by the state picking up the annual $950 software maintenance fee for the SEIU system the Town Justice is required to use.
- The Town Highway Fund will increase approximately $40,000 from $618, 613 to $658,839. This includes a $20,00 increase in local road repair materials, increases in health insurance, sand and salt, fuel and state retirement, snow removal and machinery and equipment repairs.
- The Town will utilize an increase of $34,378 in sales tax from $174,244 to $208,622 to offset most of the highway increases.
- Fire and ambulance costs will increase slightly as follows:
Earlville Fire and ambulance will increase from $65,981 to $68,216
Eaton Fire and ambulance will remain the same at $10,507
Georgetown Fire and Ambulance will increase from $45,419 to $46,487
Hamilton Fire and Ambulance will increase from $35,156 to $36,985.
The Hamilton and Earlville fire and ambulance budgets include fire contracts and spreading of the SOMAC ambulance costs which will total $43,681 for 2019. Costs are allocated between fire protection areas based on assessed valuation.
Mercy Flight Rescue Helicopter services receives $500 annually from the Town and is divided equally between the four fire contract areas at a cost of $125 each.
Lighting district costs for the hamlet of Lebanon will drop from $2,400 to $2,300 in 2019.
Other actions BY Lebanon town board members included:
- Authorizing the revaluation of all town properties for 2019 in conjunction with the towns of Eaton and Georgetown as part of the Coordinated Assessment Program (CAP)
- introducing a local law to override the state property tax cap for 2019.
- Finalizing purchase of a 2019 John Deere Loader with trade in of the 2013 Loader which would cost the town approximately $79,000. Town officials will consider a mix of using reserves and bonding to pay off the amount.
- Considering assuming responsibility for snow and ice removal of Bradley Brook Road from the county which would involve additional seasonal hire and additional plow truck route. Town officials said they would only consider it if revenue from county road plowing is equal to costs of adding another plow route and will consider this on Oct. 22.
- Set Nov. 8 as public hearing on town budget and tax cap override local law starting at 8 pm.
- Established compensation for code enforcement officer John Armstrong who is attending classes to become credentialed and handling paperwork and building permit applications and inspections.
Copies of the budget are available via email or through the Town Clerk’s office.