The town of Woodstock’s proposed $9.87 million budget proposal calls for a 3.69 percent tax levy increase but is still just a hair below the state cap.
Total spending in the General Fund, Highway Fund, lighting, sewer and water districts is projected at $9,877,890. Not included are the fire and library districts, which are their own taxing entities with their own governing bodies. Town and highway operations will be funded by a combined tax levy of $6,945,487, leaving revenue and prior year surpluses to make up the rest.
The levy is $529 below the state cap, which is 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower. Allowances are made for using surplus from the previous year and other factors.
For the General Fund, the levy, after estimated revenue of $1,406,599 and a $200,000 offset from surplus funds, is $4,659.341.
The Highway Fund levy after $334,000 in revenues and a $415,000 offset from surplus funds is $2,204,596.
The lighting and on-site sewer districts make up the remaining $81,550 levy.
“This year’s increase for all the budgets was driven in large part by fuel and electric costs as well as general supply costs and an increase in labor costs,” Supervisor Bill McKenna said October 3 when delivering his annual budget message.
The town restored several equipment and contractual lines for 2023 after reducing them in the 2022 budget through the use of 2021 surplus funds.
Also included is a part-time employee to assume bookkeeping responsibilities mid-year and another part-time employee to handle clerical and management tasks for the Woodstock Cemetery.
Water rates will increase 3 cents to 47 cents per 100 gallons and the quarterly base charge is up $1 to $19.
Sewer rates go up 5 cents to $1.07 per 100 gallons and the quarterly base charge is up $1 to $18.
“This is driven in large part by the huge increase in electric. Both the sewer districts and water use a tremendous amount of electric and also (there was) an increase in chemical charges,” McKenna said.
The budget McKenna proposed is not final. Next week, the heads of various departments will meet with the Town Board to make their case for any increases they deem necessary.
Those meetings are scheduled for October 11-14, but are usually completed over two days.
Public hearings are scheduled for October 18 for the water, on-site and hamlet sewer districts.
Town Board members can also propose changes.
The budget includes 3 percent increases for employees including elected officials, who will be paid the following wages:
Supervisor Bill Mckenna, $62,836;
Highway Superintendent Scott Bonestell, $79,109;
Town Clerk Jackie Earley, $59,117;
Town Council (Maria-Elena Conte, Reggie Earls, Bennet Ratcliff, Laura Ricci), $12,055 each.