North Salem residents will get a chance to comment next week on the town’s proposed 2020 budget.
The Town Board gave Supervisor Warren Lucas’ preliminary $10.1 million spending plan a final going over at its Tuesday, Nov. 19, work session.
The budget—including all special districts: water, sewer, lighting and parks—represents a 3.044 percent increase over the current $9.8 million plan.
A public hearing has been set for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3, at the Town Meeting Hall, 66 June Road. While the town has until Friday, Dec. 20, to adopt a budget, the board expects to take final action on Tuesday, Dec. 10, or Tuesday, Dec. 17, at the latest.
As it now stands, the tax rate would go up a nickel, from $4.56 for each $1,000 of assessed value to $4.61, an increase of .983 percent. The proposed tax levy, $6,873,522.60, represents an increase of 1.470 percent, which is under the state tax cap, Lucas said.
The owner of a house worth $660,000 now pays an average of $3,011 in town taxes, Lucas said, and can expect to see them go up by about $30 a year under the proposed budget.
The road-paving budget, in the updated plan, increased by $182,000 to $400,000 and money set aside to cover the costs of police patrols during heavy traffic periods rose by $56,000, Lucas said.
Upping the highway budget will allow the town to avoid borrowing for paving projects. North Salem has about 42 miles of town-owned roads, which can go about 12 years without paving. The town paves about 3.5 miles of road a year at a cost of about $125,000 per mile.
The town has a 20-year bond from 2006 that paid for the paving of 12 miles of road and the purchase of plow trucks.
Lucas said the town and its state representatives worked hard to get legislation in Albany that would allow it to pay its part-time police officers more than $30,000 apiece. The bill passed in June. It is still awaiting Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s signature.
Taxes in the general fund went down by 3.059 percent, while the Highway Department’s went up by 8.467 percent. The highway budget gets some financial support through the state Department of Transportation’s Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS), which funds the construction, reconstruction or improvement of local highways, bridges and highway railroad crossings.
Property taxes supply most, but not all, of the revenue needed to run the town. Approximately 32 percent comes from sales taxes, mortgage taxes and fund balance, as well as court, building inspection and other fees.
Elected officials will likely be getting a 3 percent pay raise, Lucas said.
If the budget is approved, the supervisor’s salary would rise to $89,400.38 from the current $86,796.48. The four town councilmen, now paid $16,230.30, would be paid $16,715.96. Town justices now make $34,125.12; they would get $35,148.85. The town clerk’s annual paycheck would rise to $81,800 to $84,254.
The chief of police, who is not an elected official, oversees a department of 14 part-time officers. He would get a heftier raise of 14.29 percent, bringing his $35,000 salary to $40,000.
The superintendent of highways would get $98,967.48. He currently makes $96,084.93 in that position. He also makes $12,483.66 as parks superintendent. That would rise to $12,858.17. His salary as cemetery superintendent—$7,491.12—would remain the same.