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Madrid board votes to override tax cap

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MADRID - Faced with an “ugly” proposed 2013 budget, the Madrid Town Board voted Wednesday to override the state-ordered 2 percent increase in property taxes.

The board voted 4-1 in favor of the local law following a no comment public hearing and its first review of the proposed $1,698,870 budget for next year It is $60,000 more expensive than this year’s spending plan and, according to Town Supervisor Joseph A. Finnegan, carries with its numbers an estimated 25 percent property tax increase.

“It’s ugly,” he said, voting for the override. “These numbers are wild.”

These numbers include a taxable assessment base of $66,136,599, up $2 million from this year.

The proposed tax rates per $1,000 of assessed valuation are also up, $10.96 to $14.43 for the hamlet and $8.86 to $11.66 for the town.

Under the proposed budget, the town will need to raise $954,465 by taxes. That, according to Mr. Finnegan, is considerably more that the town’s $745,917 limit under the cap.

“If you look at the budget, there is no way we can keep it at $745,000,” he said.

In the proposed budget, general fund revenues dropped to $259,930 from this year’s $448,406.

“We were a little bit conservative in estimating our revenue, but I don’t think we were that conservative,” Mr. Finnegan said.

The projected revenue dips from 2012 include: St. Lawrence County sales tax, $175,000 to $160,000; Madrid Bluegrass Festival, $35,000 to $32,000; justice fees, fines and forfeitures, $44,000 to $25,000; and the library fund, $53,323 to $3,380.

The town highway department’s annual allocation for the state’s Consolidated Highway Improvement Program - CHIPs - at $96,360.

Also voting in favor of the override were councilor Tim Thisse, Tony Cooper and Kevin Finnegan. David Fisher cast the sole opposing vote.

“My goal is to keep taxes stable,” he said. “Taxes are high enough as it is”

The board will hold a budget work session at Town Hall on Oct. 17 at 6 p.m.

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