The Village of Tupper Lake budget vote takes place today | News, Sports, Jobs
TUPPER LAKE – The Village Council plans to further cut its budget for the coming fiscal year before voting to pass it today, but the budget will still be above the state tax cap for the second year in a row, Mayor Paul Maroun mentioned.
The $3.4 million draft budget, as it stands, has a spending increase of 4.88%, or $158,400 more than last year.
This budget would require $2.26 million in taxes to be collected from residents, also known as fiscal levies. This levy exceeds the state tax levy cap of $90,000, or 6.13%. The state tax cap is 1.02% this year for Tupper Lake.
The village council will have to vote to override this tax cap with a supermajority of four council votes in order to pass the budget.
Maroun said the council will make further cuts at its meeting today before voting, but the budget cannot be brought below the tax cap without significantly reducing services.
“Everything costs more” says Maron. “It’s just the way of the world today. When I go to the grocery store, I pay more.
For years, he’s said the state-imposed tax cap — which is typically less than 2% in Tupper Lake — isn’t realistic because prices are inflating at higher rates. This year, inflation has been particularly high, around 8%.
“Anyone who tells you the tax cap works is lying” says Maron. “You can’t have an unrealistic tax cap.”
Last year, the village exceeded the tax cap for the first time, increasing the levy by 3.5% in one year with a cap of 1.01%.
Maroun said if the village could benefit from a 4-5% tax increase this year, that would be good.
Village administrator Ron LaScala said the village was already on a shoestring budget and there wasn’t much wiggle room.
“I think inevitably, given the situation where everything is more expensive, it would be foolish of us to think that we don’t have to raise taxes to maintain the status quo,” he said.
Village Clerk Mary Casagrain said there are very few changes to this budget from last year, but the costs of maintaining services and retaining staff have increased. She said spending increased primarily due to raises and employee benefits.
This interim budget provides for an increase in the tax rate of $0.97 per $1,000 of assessed value. This would be an increase in the tax rate of 6.09% compared to last year.
Maroun hopes to reduce the tax rate increase to about $0.80 per $1,000 of assessed value, an increase of about 5%.
To reduce the tax rate by one penny per $1,000 of assessed value, the village must reduce its expenses by about $1,400, Maroun said.
The village has already made cuts. The original budget they reviewed called for a 6% spending increase and an 8.46% tax rate increase.
The village held a public hearing on the budget earlier this month.
Maroun said the village has cut positions through attrition in the police department and other departments in the village.
He said he thinks the state needs to inject more money through its Municipal Aid and Incentives program and end unfunded mandates.
If the village does not exceed the tax cap, Maroun said residents will receive reduced services. The village has no other way to generate income, he said.
He doesn’t think the village’s tax base has much room for improvement, geographically. He hopes the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant the village received from the state last year and projects like the revival of the OWD plant will increase the tax base. of the village in the years to come.
Casagrain said the village plans to draw $100,000 of its reserve balance from that budget. The balance of the fund – the financial reserves of the village – is currently $250,000 and would be $150,000 after the $100,000 is allocated.
She said some of that money is set aside for a down payment on a fire truck in the future, and other small amounts go to events like the bike rodeo and to pay for grants to the advance before being reimbursed.
The current balance of the Casagrain le village fund is just over 7% of the total budget. That’s right in the sweet spot where the state recommends it — between 5% and 10%.
After the budget was passed, she said the fund balance will be 4.4% of the total budget, which she said is low but expected in times of high inflation.
The extraordinary meeting of the board of directors for the adoption of the budget will take place at 5 p.m. today in the village hall.