The proposed $2.35-million 2018-2019 Saugerties village budget, which will go into effect at the beginning of June, will continue a eight-year stint of tax-levy decreases, according to mayor Bill Murphy. The tax levy this year is down 1.08 percent less at $1.68 million. Murphy said the budget was a million dollars less than it was nine years ago, in large part due to the consolidation of police services in the town and village. The board will formally accept the proposed budget at its April 16 meeting, Murphy said.
“We work hard to keep [increased taxes] at bay, and it’s not easy,” said Murphy. “The biggest things every year are health care and benefits. Just last year we changed our liability insurance carrier and that was able to save us money. You’ve got to look at everything; there are so many factors that go into it. I’m proud that over the last nine years there’s been no increase in taxes. There was a big decrease when we did the police merger, but we’ve been able to maintain that budget over the years.”
The property tax rate for the new budget year will be $6.037 per $1000 of assessed property value, a decline from the 2017-18 figure of $6.36 per $1000 of assessed property value.
Among marked changes in the budget is a $42,844 increase in street maintenance. That item now will total $333,844. The state’s Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Plan (CHIPS) will cover the increase, the mayor said, at no expense to the taxpayer.
An additional $9300 was spent on equipment for the fire services this year. “These guys are all volunteers and there are some things they needed,” said Murphy. “They’re here for the whole community. and we should never try to skimp on them.”
Employee benefits, for which $300,000 were allotted this year, increased by $50,000. Fortunately, there were a $15,000 decrease in state retirement costs and a $20,000 decrease in workers’ compensation.
“In all my years of doing it, I think this was the most diligent that the board members have been,” said Murphy. “They all have their pieces of the budget that they’re responsible for, and they were able to help us afford equipment and still keep the budget.”