By Liz Schevtchuk Armstrong
The Philipstown Town Board voted unanimously Thursday night, Nov. 17, to adopt an $8,815,276 budget for 2012, with $6,955,192 of the total to be raised in taxes. The budget total is about 4 percent above the fiscal 2011 total of $8,510,649. The portion of the 2011 budget covered by taxes was $6,767,715. According to Supervisor Richard Shea, a resident of Cold Spring or Nelsonville, paying the town-wide rate, with a home with an assessed value of $300,000, can expect a tax increase of $23.07 for 2012, while a comparable homeowner living outside a village would pay an increase of $68.31. Councilors John Van Tassel, Nancy Montgomery, Betty Budney, and Barbara Scuccimarra joined Shea in voting to approve the budget, which becomes effective Jan. 1.
The supervisor said the 2012 budget reflects harsh realities in three key areas: highly escalating pensions-employee retirement expenses; infrastructure demands, especially in road repairs after heavy snow and rain storms and a hurricane; and equipment leasing in the highway department. The statewide 2 percent cap on property tax increases loomed over the budget-setting, too, he said. “The bottom line is the levy comes in under 2 percent,” Shea said. “We’re meeting the cap.”
In a change from the draft budget discussed earlier this month, the final budget includes a $1,000 salary increase for all personnel, including the supervisor and Town Board members. That means Shea’s pay will be $26,000 and that of the Town Board councilors will be $18,000 annually, and the highway superintendent will get $91,000. During the meeting, the board also added $1,000 for the fire marshall, a job, handled by the code enforcement officer on top of his other duties but not funded in fiscal 2011. [Look for more detailed budget coverage in the next few days.]