Retirements put crimp in Glenville budget plan
GLENVILLE The Glenville Town Board adopted a preliminary 2014 budget without any fuss Wednesday night, clearing the way for members of the public to voice their thoughts on the spending plan at a public hearing Nov. 6.
The $16.3 million spending plan would raise the lax levy $134,000, or 1.59 percent. The typical Glenville homeowner outside the village of Scotia would pay an extra $11.48 in taxes next year, while the typical village homeowner would pay an extra $2.88.
One pressing concern for town officials this budget season is the fact that nearly one-quarter of the town’s workforce is eligible for retirement next year. To prepare for the possibility that most, if not all, these employees will decide to retire in 2014, the preliminary budget includes a $300,000 appropriation for retirement and leave time payouts.
“We haven’t cut any services, and we’re not deferring any of our mandated payment to the state retirement system,” said town Supervisor Chris Koetzle in his 2014 budget message. “As we do with all bills, we’re paying it in full when it is due. We will not be saddling future taxpayers with retirement system debt payments.”
Potential retirements beyond 2014 so far appear to be spread out more evenly, so the town won’t have to set aside such a large appropriation again anytime soon. But the retirement appropriations for next year have put a dent in Koetzle’s plan to reduce the budget’s reliance on the town’s fund balance by 15 percent each year he’s in office.
“Leave time payouts and an increase in our health insurance costs account for all of the increased appropriations next year,” he said. “There is no new spending in this budget. And without the mandated spending, we would have reduced spending. We’ve reduced the fund balance appropriation by $45,000. Every year, we try to reduce our dependency on that fund balance by 15 percent. This year, we’re reducing it by 9 percent, because that extra 6 percent is going toward retirement payouts.”
The preliminary budget increases funding for water and sewer infrastructure maintenance and repairs by more than $31,000. It also increases funding for the town’s Revitalization and Economic Development Initiative, Scotia-Glenville Senior Citizens, Freedom Park Foundation and Scotia Memorial Day Parade and continues the current practice of paying cash, instead of borrowing, for daily operational vehicles like police cars and Department of Public Works trucks and vans.
“The strategies we have followed over the past four years — fiscal restraint, avoidance of unnecessary borrowing, lowering our dependency on the use of the fund balance and living within our means — provided the foundation for the 2014 budget,” Koetzle said in his budget message. “This budget is honest, fair, conservative and does not rely on gimmicks.”
A public hearing on the preliminary budget will be held Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m. at the Glenville Municipal Center, 18 Glenridge Road. The town must adopt a final budget by Nov. 20.
To view the full 55-page 2014 preliminary budget, visit The Daily Gazette’s local budget special reports web page at http://dailygazette.com/budgets/schenectadycounty/.