NORFOLK - Residents of the town of Norfolk may be seeing a small tax rate increase on the local portion of their January 2014 tax bills after board members approved a tentative $2 million budget this week.
The tax rate for 2013 was $4.53 per $1,000 of assessment while 2014s rate is projected to be $4.69 per $1,000. The tax levy for the highway, general fund and library accounts will climb from $612,285 in 2013 to $634,488 in 2014.
Town Supervisor Charles A. Pernice said the town budget consists of four major funds (General A, General B, Highway A, and Highway B.) This is because a portion of the village of neighboring Norwood is located in Norfolk.
There were some requirements for sharing sales tax that I wasnt aware of, nor was my book keeper, so we have made some adjustments to comply, Mr. Pernice said. We are under the tax cap so simply put the numbers in some instances were just shifted from one major fund to another.
Mr. Pernice said that the village portion of budget is not included in the town wide part, but the two are added together to get the total amount.
Mr. Pernice said the projected sales tax revenues are climbing from $585,000 budgeted in 2013 to $709,206 in 2014.
The new spending plan is also impacted by a 15 percent increase in health insurance costs, but he noted there has been a decrease in retirement costs.
There are still a few more steps to go through before a 2014 town budget is finalized.
Generally speaking, after this meeting here, well establish another preliminary budget, generally between here and the final budget approval. Then well have a good idea of whether or not well exceed the tax cap, town budget officer William E. Dashnaw said. As it stands right now, I dont see any need here, based on the budget we have, to exceed the tax cap.
Mr. Dashnaw noted $190,000 from the town wide general fund unexpended balance is utilized in the 2014 spending plan, and the tentative general fund portion of the tax rate is $1.9451. General fund appropriations for 2014 are $956,437, up from $845,826 in 2013.
Town employees across the board will see a 2 percent pay increase. The town had instituted a wage freeze in 2013.
The rest of these revenues are pretty consistent in your general fund, Mr. Dashnaw explained.
The town wide highway fund appropriations total is $961,201 with a projected tax rate of $1.5851 per $1,000. Coming into last weeks budget workshop, the library fund was at $109,309. Mr. Pernice explained that while the town board initially approves the funding for the library, they can still alter it.
The library funding must be approved by the town board. Once approved, its turned over to them to manage as they see fit because they have a town board appointed Board of Trustees, he said.
After a lengthy discussion, the board decided that the $1,250 increase request was unreasonable and undeserved. Does anybody else think that the employees they have at the library is a little excessive? Their wages are $87,000 out of their $108,000 budget, Councilman Kevin Enslow said.
Mr. Pernice agreed.
Its ping pong. We hit the ball across the net, and they have the ability to totally hit it and come up with their own tax levy and spend whatever they want, Mr. Pernice said.
They are overpaying their employees and they have too many. How do we get that controlled better? Mr. Enslow asked.
Councilman Robert Harvey also agreed with his fellow board members sentiments.
It is kind of maddening that we have said this two or three years in a row to them. We cut about $5,000 the first year and gave them back $2,500 last year. Now theyre asking for more, Mr. Harvey said.
Mr. Enslow made a motion to pay the library the same amount of $108,059 that they did last year. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harvey and approved by the fellow board members.
The Norfolk Fire District fund currently stands at $197,054, nearly half of the amount coming from the personal services and bond payment line items.
Mr. Dashnaw pointed out that the board has until Nov. 15 to have a public hearing to adopt the budget and it must be adopted by Nov. 20.
A public hearing will be held at 6 p.m. Nov. 14 on the proposed spending plan.