Tax decrease projected in proposed Cobleskill town budget

Tuesday, October 29, 2013
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— Taxes are projected to go down under the town of Cobleskill’s tentative budget for 2014.

A public hearing is scheduled for Monday on the $1.58 million spending plan.

Property taxes make up the bulk of revenue for the town of about 6,600 people, and the tentative budget calls for a 2014 tax levy of $1,116,055 — a reduction of 1.09 percent from 2013.

Town Supervisor Thomas Murray said one important factor in the town’s cost savings is staffing in the Highway Department. There were a dozen workers in the department three years ago. Today, there are seven, plus the highway superintendent.

Along with the staff reductions are the hiring of three retired state highway workers — as part-timers who don’t get costly fringe benefits, Murray said.

“That’s the key, no benefits, no retirement, no fringe. They’re so competent and qualified, if our guys are out on a sick day or using some of their [compensatory] time, these guys are there,” he said.

Another point of savings Murray points to is at the town highway garage, which was using oil for heating. He said there was a natural gas line about 40 feet from the highway garage, installed in 2006. The garage was hooked up to the natural gas line and is now more efficient, he said.

Town highway workers got a 1.5 percent pay increase last year, and other non-highway employees are in line for a 1.5 percent increase this year, Murray said.

The highway superintendent, an appointed position, is in line for a 4.5 percent pay increase in the 2014 tentative budget, up to $50,160 from the current $48,000.

At current spending levels, Murray estimates the town will bring about $1.3 million in fund balance into 2014.

Salaries for town officials as proposed for the 2014 year are as follows: supervisor, $6,578; town justices, $17,200; Town Board members, $2,100; town clerk; $38,340; highway superintendent, $50,160; assessor, $18,732.

The public hearing will be held at 5 p.m. Monday in Town Hall, 378 Mineral Springs Road.

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