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Thu., Oct. 8
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York

Louisville residents to see decrease in town tax bills


LOUISVILLE - When the town board meets on Nov. 14, it will be adopting its 2013 budget, a spending plan that should actually result in slightly lower town tax bills despite slight increases to both the general fund and highway fund tax rates.

Residents of the town who reside outside of the village of Massena will pay a combined rate of 94.5 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, an increase of “a penny” to support the town’s general and town-wide highway funds. Residents outside the village will also notice a slight increase from 37.8 cents to 38.2 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value for the town’s permanent highway improvement fund.

However, after the library tax, which is collected by the town is added to the bills, residents outside the village will see a final tax rate of $2.01 per $1,000 of assessed property value, a rate that’s virtually identical to the $2.014 per $1,000 they paid to support this year’s plan.

Village residents, who don’t pay toward the town’s highway improvement fund, will see a rate of $1.747 per t$1,000 of assessed property value, a 13 cent drop from the $1.875 they paid to support this year’s plan.

When asked how the town’s $2,015,460 budget was able to come in $2,500 below the state’s 2 percent property tax cap, Town Supervisor Larry R. Legault said it’s all a matter of how well the town manages it’s finances.

“I think we’re pretty conservative throughout the year with out spending. I think every one of our employees and elected officials do a pretty good job of keeping track of our spending throughout the year.”

Another thing that helped was the county electing to not take sales tax revenue from the town.

“The fact that the sales tax is staying with us and we don’t have to give any back to the county really helped us,” he said, adding what could have been a significant loss of revenue is now being budgeted as an increase of $2,175, up to $458,175.

A major area of savings for the town’s taxpayers is the fact that this year the town is only collecting $9,000 for the library instead of the $18,000 they had to collect last year.

“The library obviously went down because this year we’re only collecting $9,000,” he said. “Last year we had to collect $18,000 because we didn’t do it the year before.”

That lowers the library rate from 11.9 cents per $1,000 dollars of assessed property value to 5.9 cents per thousand dollars of assessed property value.

And while the town is under the tax cap, Mr. Legault said they have again made the decision to override the cap, but only as a protective measure.

“We did stay under the 2 percent tax cap, but we’ve decided to override the property tax cap in case there was some error on our part, but we’re pretty confident there isn’t,” he said.

According to a summary sheet explaining the proposal the $605,045 general fund includes a tax levy of $94,500. An additional general fund of $61,700 for expenses outside the village is being paid for entirely with revenues other than property tax. The town-wide highway fund of $499,730 has a levy of $48,960. The $304,023 highway improvement fund, which does not include village residents, has a levy of $47,430.

Other portions of the budget supported by water and lighting districts include $480 for lighting district 1, $380 for lighting district 2 and $3,000 for lighting district 3. Water district 1 has a budget of $230,897 and Water District 2 has a $184,705 budget.

The town also increased its contribution to the fire department to $116,500, up from the $114,500 they paid this year. Mr. Legault said the town’s contribution to the fire department is paid entirely through sales tax revenue.

Mr. Legault said all town employees with the exception of himself and town council members received 2 percent raises as part of the plan. Town board members once again elected to not take raises, he said.

“This is like four or five years in a row that they did not take an increase,” he said. Their salaries will remain at $2,675 per person.

Mr. Legault will receive a $5,000 raise bumping his salary up to $25,000.

Mr. Legault said his raise is a result of taking on additional work. He explained the town used to have a bookkeeper, a position with a budgeted salary of $11,400 for the current year, but when their bookkeeper retired in February he took on the extra work, rather than hiring someone for the position, actually leading to savings for the town’s taxpayers.

The town’s justices will each receive $8,845 with the court clerk receiving $12,275. The town’s budget officer will receive $3,000 with the tax collector receiving $4,795. The assessor will receive $20,755 and the town clerk will receive $24,600. The highway superintendent will receive a salary of $48,600 and the town’s recreation director will receive a salary of $30,600.

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