Officials in the Town of Ulster last week released details of a $13.26 million preliminary budget for 2023 that would increase spending by $430,399, or 3.36 percent, and come with a $9.11 million property tax levy — a decrease of $35,365, or 0.39 percent.
Town Supervisor James E. Quigley III described a thorny process, difficult but manageable, in part due to a variety of factors that went Ulster’s way.
“Overall, this was a challenge to put together in light of escalating expenses throughout the economy,” said Quigley during a Town Board meeting held October 6. “We’ve settled two labor contracts and…we will be making motions for resolutions to authorize the execution of a collective bargaining agreement with Local 17, and a memorandum of understanding with the PBA (Policemen’s Benevolent Association) in order to proceed to documentation of a collective bargaining agreement. We have been lucky in locking in long term contracts.”
Quigley added that the spending plan has also been aided in the resolution of tax certiorari actions at TechCity and the county’s expected foreclosure on an office park at 701 Grant Avenue in Kingston, “which removes another major uncertainty to the Town as far as litigation and tax refunds are concerned.”
Included in the budget is a supervisor’s annual salary of $50,250, which is equal to Quigley’s 2022 salary. Town Board members would be paid $10,800, an increase of $400, or 3.85 percent. The town clerk’s salary would increase by 6.29 percent, or $3,538 to $59,763; the two town justices by 7.05 percent, or $3303, to $50,157; the highway superintendent by 5.08 percent, or $4206, to $86,990; the assessor by 1.64 percent, or $1500, to $93,177; the building inspector by 5.42 percent, or $4129, to $80,300; and the code enforcement officer by 27.02 percent, or $13,206, to $62,081.
Other increases include police wages (to $2.61 million, a 2.96 percent increase of $74,955), highway maintenance department wages ($471,325, a 7.63 percent increase of $33,417), highway mechanic wages including overtime ($209,153, a 9.04 percent increase of $17,345), retiree’s medical and dental insurance ($761,750, an 18.48 percent increase of $118,805), Social Security ($429,307, a 3.36 percent increase of $13,945), workers compensation ($269,350, a 9.11percent increase of $22,489), unallocated insurance ($262,000, a 3.97% increase of $10,000) and legal fees ($205,000, an 8.81% increase of $16,600).
Elsewhere, the budget represents spending decreases in medical and dental insurance for current employees ($1.71 million, a 4.48% decrease of $79,973), police and fire retirement ($631,631, a 3.66% decrease of $23,996), blacktop ($200,000, a 6.98% decrease of $15,000), and highway equipment ($200,000, a 23.08% decrease of $60,000).
Quigley asked that the council-members meet with him and department heads to further review figures prior to the Town Board meeting scheduled for Thursday, October 20, when changes can be considered and the preliminary budget adopted; that draft is due to the Ulster County Department of Finance on Friday, October 21.
The Town has also set a public hearing on its 2023 budget for Thursday, November 3, with the goal of adopting the spending plan at its meeting on Thursday, November 17. The final budget is due at the county’s Department of Finance by Monday, November 21.