The Caroline Town Board was presented, by Supervisor Don Barber, a Tentative Budget for 2015 that exceeds the property tax cap (PTC). Caroline has four separate budgets. General and Highway exceed the PTC while Lighting and Fire District do not.
The General budget tax levy exceeds 2014 levy by $115,000. The actual growth in program spending is $14K, under the 2% PTC. The remaining increase is to offset having $36K less savings to reduce tax levy than used in 2014 and raising $65K to build reserves for Town Barn replacement ($61.5K was raised last year to pay off office building bond). The budget includes payment for construction of broadband infrastructure at $193,750, with matching revenue resulting in no net cost to the tax payers.
The Highway tax levy increase of $144K is a result of $60K increase for equipment purchase, adding labor for succession training, and predicted far above inflation increase in materials like salt and asphalt.
The resulting tax levy increase for all four funds is $194K (14.6%). For average Caroline property of $140K property, this results in a 2015 tax bill of $980 ($107 increase).
Supervisor Barber stated to the Town Board, “I am presenting a budget with no program growth offset by an amount of savings that seems sustainable for future years. This budget is the product of the NY State’s taxation policy of unfunded mandates and reduced revenue sharing coming to roost at the local level. The choice is to maintain or pare away basic services. The Tentative budget chooses to maintain services.
However as painful as this levy growth is, there looms a much bigger expense on the near horizon. Our volunteer ambulance will most likely not renew their contract in 2016 due to lack of staff. Creating local professional services will increase the levy approximately $400K or roughly 25%. Contracting with the private sector, if available, will delay response time significantly, but should cost less than the local option.”
The Town Board has scheduled budget work sessions which are open to the public on these dates and time is October: 13 at 6 PM, 15 after Town Board meeting ~8:30 PM, 23 at 6 PM, and if needed 29 at 6 PM.
Tentative budgets attached:
Tentative Budget 2015 Summary.pdf
Tentative Budget 2015 Street Lighting.pdf
Tentative Budget 2015 Fire and Safety.pdf
Tentative Budget 2015 Highway.pdf
Tentative Budget 2015 General Fund.pdf