Vacation over, Tax Time upon us

September is here and that means School taxes should be in your mail boxes.  It also means the Town of Plattsburgh’s budget process is well underway.  All department heads were instructed to submit their 2016 draft budget proposals by the end of August and the drafts are being turned in now.  I FOILed (Freedom Of Information Law request) the Highway Department draft budget. The paperwork shows that Jim Woods, Highway Superintendent, has not increased expenditures.  If there is an increase in the highway tax it’s not because Jim Woods can’t hold down spending!….more on that in my next blog.

2015 is a big local election year.  2 of the 4 board members are running for re-election and since Bassett is retiring a 3rd board member is running for the Supervisor’s position. (If he wins the board members will appoint one of their cronies to take his empty seat, like they did in 2014.  If he loses he’ll keep his seat on the board…so much for the peoples say in representative government.) In an election year budgeting is tricky. Board members who are running for re-election don’t want to be seen as big spenders, preferring to save that for when their seats aren’t in jeopardy.  And precisely because of that it’s very important that you all keep an eye on the 2016 budget.

Because inflation has dropped, the State Comptroller has tightened the tax cap for 2016.  A July directive from the Comptroller states that Local governments will need to prepare for little or no tax levy growth which means the Town of Plattsburgh can only increase their levy by approximately $69,000, according to Bassett.  The Comptroller indicated that the allowable levy growth factor will be 1.0073%.  We’ll have to wait to see if the board will vote to override the tax cap and raise taxes (that would be the highway tax since, for now, that is the only town tax in the TOP) but keep in mind that mid-year County sales tax figures are down by $200,000 compared to last year , the Whispering Maples debacle could prove to be costly,  and Basset has said that costs have already been cut to the bone.   So keep a close eye on things and your ear to the ground.

 

I hope that everyone had a marvelous summer.  CHTA will hold their next meeting this month.  Due to scheduling difficulties the meeting will be held on September 24, 2015 at 7:00 pm, at the Cumerland Head Fire House.