3% tax increase below state-mandated cap
After weeks of preparation, the Nelsonville Village Board this month adopted a budget that calls for spending $359,527 in fiscal 2023-24, which begins June 1.
The budget includes a property tax increase of 3 percent, which is less than the 3.4 percent allowed for 2023-24 under the state-mandated tax cap.
Because the village has not raised its levy by the full percentage of the tax cap over the last couple of years, it had leeway this year to exact more, Mayor Chris Winward said at a March 20 meeting. But, she added, “I don’t like raising taxes too high,” so the board chose an increase of 3 percent.
She said the added revenue will help fund a new budget line of $3,000 for building maintenance. “Our budget is so small there’s not a lot to play with,” she said.
Following an April 12 public hearing at which a resident praised the village’s approach to finances, the board adopted the budget, which is $1,461 more than 2022-23.
However, village officials can update budgets. By March 1, Nelsonville’s 2022-23 budget had increased to $398,066. The 2023-24 budget, as adopted, is $38,539 less.
The budget holds elected officials’ salaries at 2022-23 levels. Each of the trustees will again collect $2,675 in pay and incidental costs, while the mayor receives $4,600.
The village clerk will get a raise of about 3 percent, to $38,400, while the building inspector will again earn $8,840.
Street maintenance costs are expected to be $14,200, or $975 more. The snow removal budget line also will increase by $975 to $12,450.
The 2023-24 budget restores the village outlay for culture and recreation to $500, the amount allocated in 2021-22, before it slipped last year to $300.
At $73,117, trash removal will cost about 2 percent more. It had been $71,703.
However, the cost of employee benefits is expected to drop to $38,250 from $45,000 in 2022-23, a year in which an employee insurance situation necessitated a temporary spike.
On the revenue side, the budget foresees collection of $300,121 in property taxes, compared to $291,380 in the previous budget.
Like Nelsonville residents, Putnam County will pay the village more in 2023-24. Its rent for the old Nelsonville firehouse, which the Sheriff’s Department uses as a substation, will tick upward from $15,900 to $17,100.
Nelsonville’s 2022-23 budget anticipated $4,000 in fees from owners of short-term rentals, such as Airbnb units. But the Village Board cut expectations in half, to $2,000.
The amount of state aid remains unclear. The previous budget included $19,000 from New York. The 2023-24 budget puts that number at $10,000 — so far, anyway.