Probably a lot of people do not realize that the town budget is actually divided into many parts. Depending on what part of the budget (spending) increased 3% (or more), it might be a larger tax increase than might be anticipated if you were to only do 'simple math'. The budget is actually divided into:
General Whole-Town - Revenues & costs for services supplied to all town residents.General Whole-town is the part of the budget that affects all town residents including New York Mills/Town of New Hartford residents. Last year, while there was only a 2% increase in the budget, the General Whole-town tax rate tripled from $.075 per thousand to $.241 per thousand. That is a 300% increase in General Whole-Town tax rate. This is most important to people living in the Village of New York Mills/Town of New Hartford because the General Whole-town tax rate determines the town tax bill for Village of NYM/Town of New Hartford residents. While it doesn't sound like much dollar-wise (a $.165 per thousand increase), considering the services New York Mills residents don't receive from the Town, it is a substantial increase.
General Whole-Town Minus NYM - Revenues & costs for services supplied to all town residents outside of NYM.
General Part-Town - Revenues & costs for services supplied to town residents living outside Villages.
Highway Whole-Town - Revenues & costs for highway services supplied to all town residents including bridges.
Highway Part-Town - Revenues & costs for services supplied to town residents living outside Villages.
Special district Taxes - Area specific such as fire, lighting, sewer, or storm water districts.
The reason for that increase to the General Whole-Town tax rate was because the available fund balances used to offset the 2007 General Whole-town budget were less than were available to offset the 2006 budget. If there are less fund balances this year, General Whole-town will increase again and Village of New York Mills residents would see another increase; however, that increase would not necessarily be due to an increase in the budget, but rather a reduction in the amount of fund balances that are available to offset the budget.
General Whole-town Minus NYM affects everyone except NYM residents. By law, the town cannot tax New York Mills residents for costs associated with the Police Department because the Village has their own Police Department. Additionally, if you live outside the Village of New York Mills, your tax rate is determined by combining the General Whole-Town tax rate plus the General Whole-Town Minus NYM.
While any increased expenses in the Police Department would increase the budget, only people outside the Village of New York Mills would be paying for those increased expenses; therefore, a smaller tax base would be used to calculate the tax rate since NYM would not be included. However, an increase due to additional Library funding affects all residents, including those in the Village of New York Mills/Town of New Hartford and therefore, a larger tax base would be used to calculate the tax rate for any increased Library funding in the budget.
We don't want to get too technical here, but suffice it to say that by the Town Supervisor saying that it will be about a 3% budget increase, he really isn't saying much--it depends where the increases are and how much money is in the fund balance. The proof will be in the pudding...when the tax rates are 'unveiled'.
Remember, there is definitely a reason that the Town Board voted to appoint a Financial Advisor at the September 26, 2007 Town Board meeting. We already have a very competent bookkeeper, Carol Fairbrother. Carol, since you weren't at the town board meeting I will warn you that the Town Board said they needed to hire Mr. Basile because they are fearful that you might walk out the side door of Butler Hall and get hit by a truck frantically making its way to the bank next door. Take my advice, Carol, and make sure to only walk out either the front door or the back door so the town "leaders" can rest a little easier at night! And Carol, be particularly careful if you see an orange truck frantically making their way to the bank because I think I heard your "Swan Song" playing in the background at Wednesday's Town Board Meeting!
By the way, the Observer Dispatch was incorrect when they stated that Frank Basile would be retained by the town for a rate of $80.00 per hour. What Mr. Reed actually said was that the work done by Frank Basile would be at the rate of $150.00 per hour. The $80 per hour was for the work of a Senior Accountant, not Mr. Basile! And isn't it interesting that the Town hired Mr. Basile at the September 26, 2007 town board meeting and on September 27th they already know the budget increase for the 2008 budget. According to the September 27, 2007 Observer Dispatch:
"Frank Basile will assist bookkeeper Carol Fairbrother prepare the 2008 budget."You don't suppose that Mr. Basile was already working for the town and the resolution passed at the meeting was like "Closing the barn door" , do you?