St. Armand tax levy comes in under the cap

BLOOMINGDALE – The tax levy in the town of St. Armand would increase just over 2 percent and stay within the state’s tax cap under the preliminary 2014 town budget, if the town board approves it without changes.

A public hearing on the $1.6 million budget is set for 6:30 p.m. tonight at the town hall in Bloomingdale.

The proposed budget includes a tax levy of $708,872, an increase of $14,266 or 2.05 percent over the town’s current $694,046 levy. Mike Kilroy, the town’s budget officer, said the state’s tax cap for the town this year is $709,372.

“If we adopted the preliminary budget as presented, we would be under the tax cap by approximately $500,” Kilroy wrote in a statement accompanying the budget.

The town would use $282,500 in reserves or fund balance, slightly less than the $286,500 it used this year, to keep the tax levy in check.

Overall spending in the preliminary budget is up $31,846, roughly 2 percent, from $1,593,968 to to $1,625,814. Personnel-related costs maxe up a quarter of that total, $407,285.

The preliminary budget includes a 1.7 percent increase in pay for most town personnel and elected officials. Town Justice Sheridan Swinyer would get a 7 percent or $1,570 increase, on top of the 1.7 percent, which Kilroy said is due to an expected increase in workload because of the pending dissolution of Saranac Lake village court.

Town Supervisor Charlie Whitson’s pay would stay the same at $29,926, but the stipends for the town’s four board members would increase 1.7 percent, or $92, from $5,422 to $5,514.

Health insurance rates are budgeted at the same level as this year, based on a conversation with the town’s personnel consultant, Kilroy wrote. Retirement contributions are also relatively unchanged from 2013.

The town plans a pair of big projects that are expected to start next year: construction of a new highway garage and a major overhaul of the sewer system in Bloomingdale. However, payments for money the town is borrowing for the two projects won’t be in the budget until 2015.