Proposed Ballston Spa budget includes nearly 2 percent tax hike

Friday, March 21, 2014
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— The proposed 2014-2015 Ballston Spa village budget calls for a property-tax increase of just under 2 percent, Mayor John P. Romano said Thursday.

The budget totals $3.88 million, up $22,000 from the current budget, and will require the tax rate to rise from $75.50 per $1,000 assessed property value to $76.75.

The tentative budget was filed with the village clerk on Thursday. If adopted by the Village Board, it would take effect June 1.

The village assesses property at only a fraction of its full value. A house worth $143,000 is assessed at about $10,000, for example, and would pay an additional $12.50 next year, Romano said.

It would be the third year in a row the village has had a tax increase, though each of those increases has been less than the state’s 2 percent tax cap.

“It’s a fair and reasonable budget given conditions and the times we live in,” said Romano, who has been mayor for 19 years. “It’s a good budget.”

He said the village had to borrow $264,000 this year for unexpected sewer and building repairs, and paying off the bonds is cutting into this year’s discretionary spending.

“There is no acquisition of any capital equipment,” he said.

He said total spending is up about $22,000, but revenue is down by $28,000, mostly because mortgage tax receipts have been lower than anticipated. “The difference is being made up by the amount collected from taxes,” he said.

There are 3.5 percent raises for full-time employees, but no increase in the salaries of the mayor or Village Board members.

The village will repair the sewer line on Bath Street next to the village office, which broke this winter and has required temporary closures of Bath Street. But Romano said the cost will be held down by having village public works employees do the work.

He said health insurance and pension contributions, which have skyrocketed over the past decade, will actually decline slightly in 2014.

The budget will be presented by the Village Board on Monday night, and a public hearing is expected to be held April 14.

“It all looks simple, but there’s a lot of work that goes into getting to this point,” the mayor said.

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