Olive tax increase, with board approval, will exceed the cap

The Town of Olive holds its public hearing on a proposed $5.5 million 2017 spending plan that represents a 3.7 percent rise in the tax rate on the evening of Thursday, November 10. A public hearing on a resolution needed for the town to override the state’s mandated tax cap, which is at 0.67 percent this year, will be held on Monday evening, November 14 at 7 p.m. Final passage of that resolution and the proposed budget, with any changes that might be made following the public hearing, will take place at the town’s regular board meeting on the evening of November 15.

“We worked very hard,” Olive supervisor Sylvia Rozzelle said, stressing that Olive budgets are a joint board process, and not something she creates for approval. “We started in August looking at what we could fix this year, what could go on the back burner. We had three long workshop meetings.”

Rozzelle added that the board’s greatest challenge was offsetting a 23 percent hike in health insurance costs. Several items everyone concentrated on, she added, included shifting workman comp costs from an assessment basis to one based solely on actual payroll, which created a slight decrease in the town’s general fund and “an uptick” in the highway fund; and similar shifts that will see the town’s general fund reimbursing the highway department for a number of maintenance jobs done each year.

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“This was the first time we did a line by line budget,” the supervisor continued. “We looked at everything we spent last year and considered whether to increase or decrease it.”

She noted some unavoidable increases, besides health insurance, included a one time shift in Olive First Aid’s budget to a regular calendar year basis, which accounted for a one percent rise over last year’s costs; and a drop in the unexpended balance amount for 2017.

Rozzelle also pointed out savings that occurred when Olive replaced highway superintendent Jimmy Fugel with his longtime deputy Brian Burns in January, upon Fugel’s retirement mid-term. Instead of replacing Burns’ position directly in the payroll, a different position was created for part time snowplowing and maintenance in the summer.

Burns won election to his position on the Democratic, Republican and Conservative lines at the polls this week, and then runs again next November for a full term.

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