Saugerties hikes taxes to deal with deficit

arrow up budgetThe Town Board unanimously passed a $17 million dollar budget that increases the overall tax levy 1.3 percent.

“I didn’t want to vote for a tax increase, but it’s really the most prudent thing to do,” said Supervisor Kelly Myers.

The budget process yielded a spending plan for 2014 that reduced the amount to be raised by taxes by .3 percent. This put the board in a “better financial position” to deal with the town’s deficit of approximately a half million dollars, said several board members.


The deficit is years in the making, created by pension costs, $200,000 for the construction of the Glasco Mini Park (which was expected to be funded through a grant), social services charges and one year of election costs, according to Myers.

The supervisor added that taking steps to address the town’s negative fund balance will help the town preserve its credit rating, which has been downgraded by Moody’s and S&P in recent years, though borrowing costs have actually decreased.

She said the board would be able to eliminate the deficit in two years if it keeps spending under control.

According to a comparison provided by town accountant Gary Newkirk, a town resident with a home assessed at $200,000  will pay $1,355.50 in town taxes, an increase of $27.63 (2.1 percent), while a village resident with that assessment will pay $934.85, an increase of $32.16 (3.6 percent).

This number includes six budget lines for town residents: general town-wide, general town outside village, highway, library, library bond and ambulance; for village residents, it’s four lines: general town-wide, library, library bond, and ambulance.

The Town Board only controls the first two lines: general town-wide and general town outside village. The tax levy for those lines increased 2.6 percent.

None of these numbers represent a taxpayer’s total bill: Town residents also pay for fire districts and water and sewer districts depending on where they live, and village residents pay separate village taxes.

The budget total is $17,023,161, with $12,660,088 to be raised by taxes.

The vote was 4-0. Councilman Bruce Leighton was absent.