In Woodstock’s proposed budget, tax hike meets the state limit

Woodstock Town Supervisor Bill McKenna (photo by Dion Ogust)

Woodstock Town Supervisor Bill McKenna proposed a 2019 budget of $8,255,180 that will result in an estimated 2.215 percent tax increase, an amount that is below the state’s imposed cap.

Total spending does not include Fire and Library districts which are set by separate, independent governing bodies.

The proposed $6,127,954 tax levy is $128,736, or 2.15 percent higher than last year’s $5,999,218 levy and $68,120 below the tax cap of $6,196,074. 


The rate for the sewer districts has increased to $1.03 per 100 gallons while the quarterly base rate is unchanged at $17. The water rate is also unchanged at 42 cents per 100 gallons.

General Fund spending is $5,316,690, up $205,657, or 4.023 percent from $5,111,033 budgeted for 2018. Highway Fund spending, however, has been reduced in the proposal by $10,342, or 0.436 percent, and comes in at $2,363,163, down from $2,373,505 budgeted for 2018.

Townwide, salaries are up 2.25 percent.

The levy and budget in the supervisor’s presentation include the General Fund, Highway Fund, water, sewer and lighting districts.

Highlighted changes include funding for operation and maintenance of Woodstock Cemetery, which the town took over this year; the inclusion of an additional building inspector for greater zoning enforcement as well as the increased anticipated workload from new short-term rental regulations. “The town has discussed for several years the need for an additional building inspector,” McKenna said.

The budget also includes $15,000 to move the Highway Department communications antenna to the California Quarry cellular tower for better coverage and a 28.5 percent increase across the board to update computer systems.

McKenna has listed among revenues, $7500 for the sale of cemetery lots and $7500 for burials and other services. Corresponding items do not appear under expenditures, according to McKenna, mainly because work is done by the town’s Maintenance Department and it is difficult to itemize each work item. For example, a maintenance employee might mow at the cemetery for an hour and go back to his or her other duties. 

McKenna said the town, as are others in the area, is “absorbing some big hits” from increases in payroll expenses, particularly Social Security, up 4.43 percent; Workers’ Compensation, up 15.87 percent and medical insurance, up 11.64 percent.

Salaries of elected officials are proposed to be: Supervisor Bill McKenna — $56,650;

Highway Superintendent Mike Reynolds — $69,444; Town Clerk Jackie Earley — $51,421; Town Council (Reggie Earls, Richard Heppner, Laura Ricci, Lorin Rose) — $10,868 each; Town Justice (Richard Husted, Jason Lesko) $23,140 each.

Jason Lesko

The Town Board will be meeting with department leaders Tuesday, October 9- Thursday, October 11 to clarify any of their budget requests.

On Tuesday, October 16, the Town Board will hold the following public hearings for the water and sewer portions of the budget: Water district at 7:15 p.m., Onsite sewer districts at 7:20 p.m. and Hamlet sewer district at 7:25 p.m. 

A hearing on the rest of the budget and a board vote seeking final budget approval will be set at a later date.