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Ballston Spa proposed budget has 1.5% tax hike

Wednesday, March 20, 2013
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— The village of Ballston Spa, facing higher costs for employee pensions and health care, is looking at a 1.5 percent property tax increase and a hike in water rates in 2013-2014.

The draft 2013-2014 village budget filed with the village clerk Wednesday totals $3.85 million, up from $3.68 million in the current fiscal year.

“Given the increase in expenses we don’t have any control over, it’s a very good budget,” said Mayor John P. Romano. “It’s very fair, very affordable.”

Property taxes would increase by 1.57 percent, from $74.33 per $1,000 assessed value to $75.50 per $1,000. A year ago, property taxes increased by just under 2 percent.

The village assesses property at a small fraction of its full value. Under the new rates, a home assessed at $14,000 would pay $1,057 in village taxes, $16 more than this year.

Water rates would also increase for the first time since 2006, for what Romano said would be only the fifth time in 26 years.

The minimum use rate, which covers most single-family homes, would increase from $36 every six months to $43.20. The minimum charge covers using up to 30,000 gallons of water every six months.

“Our cost of operations, like everything else, is going up,” he said.

The biggest factor in increased village spending are state-set pension costs, which Romano said are anticipated to go from $258,000 this year to nearly $327,000.

Health care insurance costs are expected to rise 12 percent, or nearly $46,000, and liability insurance premium costs are expected to rise 12 percent, or about $12,000.

Those increases are being offset in part by an expected $115,000 increase in revenue from the Saratoga County sales tax and increased revenue from court fines, Romano said.

The budget calls for purchasing one new police car and one new dump truck, but Romano said the village will borrow to pay for them.

Full-time employees are budgeted for 3 percent raises, and part-time employees will receive an additional 10 cents per hour.

The proposed budget will be presented to the Village Board on Monday night, and the board will set a public hearing for sometime in April.

 
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