Pledging to do their best not to have to use it, Town Board members voted unanimously Monday night to enact a law to override the state’s 2% tax cap on the 2013 town budget.
Town Supervisor Peter Parsons made the motion and it was seconded by Town Board member John Pappalardo.
They made the move before a large group of town residents and employees after spending nearly three hours discussing ways to whittle the 15% tax increase called for in the town’s preliminary budget down to 7%.
But the 7% they arrived at is still five percentage points over the cap, leaving officials no choice but to either go through with the override or ask town employees to cut another $259,000 from the $10,683,000 budget to keep it under the cap.
They chose the second option, saying they would immediately ask department heads to make the needed cuts and review them at a special meeting scheduled for Saturday morning at 7:30 at the Town House. Members of the public may attend.
Some members of the audience reacted favorably to Town Board efforts, with one resident congratulating it on doing its best to get the budget increase down to 2% or less and avoid breaking the cap.
New budget reductions
Several items were taken out of the preliminary budget to get it down to a 7% increase. The measures included canceling planned raises for elected officials, saving $11,000, and reducing personnel expenses in the tax receiver’s office, for a savings of approximately $40,000.
They also reallocated $27,000 of retirement expenses from 2013 back to 2012.
By far the largest reductions were made through cuts to the highway department budget. A road repair program at $235,000 and equipment repairs at $62,000 were both