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Clifton Park sets $21.1M budget; highway tax up 3 percent

Thursday, November 22, 2012
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— The Town Board has approved a 2013 budget that keeps no general town tax but includes a 3 percent increase in the highway tax.

The $21.1 million budget establishes a new position, director of safety and security, and removes the current safety officer position. The new position will oversee security and animal control as well as performing administrative functions, Town Supervisor Phil Barrett said.

The net increase is about $3,000, he said. The spending plan also reduces the community development director position from full-time to part-time, saving about $40,000.

The Town Board unanimously approved the budget Monday. It establishes the general fund budget at $16 million and the highway fund at $5.1 million. That represents a 5 percent increase in the general fund and a 6 percent increase in the highway fund.

For a homeowner with the median assessment of $150,000, the highway tax bill will be $30 a year.

Officials have budgeted to spend $650,000 of the approximately $11 million fund balance, the account of unspent funds from previous years, but hope they won’t need to. That’s because they planned sales tax figures conservatively, budgeting $10.5 million but actually expecting $11 million. The town builds in that cushion because sales tax income is less predictable than property taxes.

“It’s a moving target,” Barrett said. “There’s no way to be sure exactly how much sales tax you’re going to receive.”

At the Monday meeting, the board also moved to name a set of public trails at the Country Knolls housing development in memory of the late Peter Desrochers, who was instrumental in establishing, planning, cutting and maintaining the trails.

“There would be no Country Knolls trail system if it were not for Peter Desrochers,” said Glenn Valle, a fellow Country Knolls resident.

The land was donated to the town in 1987, and Desrochers started working then on establishing the trail system.

“Peter loved these woods,” Valle said. “They weren’t just woods to him. He knew the trees, he knew the flora, he knew the topography — it was like a canvas to him.”

Desrochers died unexpectedly in June at the age of 61. He left behind a wife and four sons who achieved Eagle Scout standing.

He had worked with various Eagle Scouts on trail projects. After his death, another Scout, Christopher Schuck, completed his Eagle Scout project by building five bridges over low spots on the trail that get muddy.

 
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