Saugerties property taxes up 5.25 percent in proposed budget

Saugerties propertyowners will see a 5.25 percent increase in the local taxes if the proposed $6.822-million operating budget for 2017 is approved. Last year’s adopted operating budget of $6.393 million.

Because of the increase, the town board voted to exceed the state-dictated tax cap.

The board is scheduled to vote on the proposed spending plan at its November 16 meeting at the senior center.

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When preliminary budget numbers were calculated, said councilman Fred Costello, “We could see that we would have to exceed the state allowable tax cap, which is about .73 percent over last year’s budget.” The proposed increases in health insurance, the cost of the contract with Diaz Ambulance services for residents, and contractual obligations to town employees drove this year’s budget increases, Costello added.

To support the spending plan, town propertyowners will pay a tax rate of $4.07 per $1000 of assessed property valuation, an increase over last year’s rate of $3.87 per $1000 of valuation. Village propertyowners will pay $5.05 per $1000 of property valuation, up from last year’s rate of $4.78.

Last year’s bill of $602,520 for Diaz Ambulance has increased to $719,150. The town rate will be $0.34 per $1000 of property valuation and $0.40 for village taxpayers.

The items with substantial increases include:

  • Police budget went from $2,356,163 last year to $2,478,438.
  • Retirement employee benefits from 2016’s $801,682 to a proposed $907,626.
  • Workers Comp went from $116,087 to $124,689.
  • Health insurance, which includes medical and dental for non-contract employees, rose from $890,742 to $1,099,256.
  • Road maintenance went from $1,768,138 up to $1,841,158.
  • The highway department’s health insurance, which includes medical and dental, rose from $288,464 to $356,864.

The budget can be viewed on the town’s web site at www.saugerties.ny.us.

There are 2 comments

  1. A Fiscally Concerned Citizen

    From press reports, there appears to be little or no emphasis towards cost reductions in this budget, and the result is a 5.25% increase; additionally, almost every line item published here is based on increased personnel costs.

    With little or no emphasis towards personnel reductions, we can only anticipate that these costs will continue to rise, most likely at 5.25% or higher, year over year.

    In financial math, the number 72 is a cute little shortcut: divide 72 by the interest rate (in this case 5.25%) and the answer’s around 13, which represents the number of years until your money owed (or in this case property tax bills), will double: at yearly cost increases of 5.25%, property tax bills will double by 2029 and those on fixed incomes will face a very tough choices. (Note: should that rate increase skyrocket to say 9%, the years to double will be down to just 8 years (72/9=8 or 1.09 raised to the eighth power, arriving in 2024.)

    If we don’t address the number of persons hired by the town, and those employee’s associated costs keep rising yearly, many loyal, long-time residents who helped build this town, it’s schools, parks, fire departments, etc. and are on fixed incomes will be forced to face dire decisions.

    2% was a reasonable cap, it forced our leaders to make the really tough decisions, not to pass on their fiscal responsibilities, while meeting the meager 2% (or less) income increases most of our residents enjoyed.

    A few years back, a major publication’s business reporters looked at every county in the country, checked their financial factors and determined what year was their financial high point: Ulster’s was the late 1980’s.

    We have to stop hiring like it’s 1988: IBM’s long gone, the hey-day of 1988 is no longer with us, we just can’t afford more and more.

  2. George

    This is what happens when you institute an unrealistic tax cap. Just like not increasing tuition or tolls for years, eventually you have to make up the difference. The cost of everything goes up.

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