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Norfolk budget includes 5 percent tax rate increase

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NORFOLK - The town of Norfolk recently passed its 2013 budget, which includes a tax rate increase of almost 5 percent.

Tax rates for residents of the town of Norfolk will climb from $5.72 per $1000 of assessed value to $5.99, Supervisor Charles A. Pernice said.

Mr. Pernice said that when he first began the 2013 budget process, he saw the town would need a tax rate increase of 18 percent in order to provide the same funding for town services as in 2012. However, he cut almost $40,000 from the tentative budget to lower the tax rate increase to 4.83 percent.

“I literally spent hours comparing budget lines to actual expenses the last three years to come up with cuts we could live with and not reduce services to our residents,” Mr. Pernice said.

The majority of those cuts come from equipment and contractual lines, Mr. Pernice said. He said $15,000 was cut from the highway equipment line, reducing the expenditure from $110,000 to $95,000, which he felt was allowable because of the high funding the department received in recent years.

“When I took office I felt we were somewhat behind in our highway equipment rotation, so for the last three years we increased that budget line to get back to where I felt we needed to be and have purchased the equipment we needed with no financing on any of it,” Mr. Pernice said. “This was also a cut I felt we could live with and still purchase what we needed in 2013.”

The budget also reduced the hours of one court clerk position from 40 to 35 hours per week, saving the town a projected $3,256 in 2013.

The budget also does not include any raises to town employees, except in cases that it was contractually obligated to do so, and did not allocate an increase to any department, Mr. Pernice said. The budget also allocates the same amount to health care for town employees. Due to a change in the health care policy, spending may remain the same even though premiums increased by 14 percent, Mr. Pernice said.

“My goal was to make intelligent reductions without a loss of services to our residents which I feel we accomplished,” he said.

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