2023-24 Voorheesville village budget up almost 6% but taxes nearly flat

Enterprise file photo — Michael Koff

The village’s contract for ambulance services with the Albany County Sheriff’s Office is set to increase from $37,000 to $70,000. Mayor Rich Straut said the increase was largely because the sheriff’s office needed to raise salaries to stay competitive with other agencies.

VOORHEESVILLE — At $2.79 million, Voorheesville’s proposed village budget for 2023-24 is up 5.81 percent over this year’s adopted spending plan. 

A public hearing for the budget proposal is set for Thursday, April 13, at 6 p.m., at Village Hall.

Also on that date, the village will hold public hearings for proposed Local Law Number 4 of 2023, a 10-percent property tax exemption for volunteer first responders, and proposed Local Law Number 5 of 2023, which would establish a permitting process for outdoor music entertainment in the village. 

The tax rate paid by property owners remains nearly flat, with the village proposing a rate of about $1.32 per $1,000 of assessed value for next year, up from about $1.31 per $1,000 this year. 

The property tax levy is set to increase by less than half a percentage point, from about $315,000 to about $316,000, which comes in just under the state-set levy limit. 

The entire village has an assessed value of about $262.5 million, which is down slightly from this time last year, and about $241.3 million of that value is taxable, which is up slightly from last year’s budget time 

The village’s proposed 2023-24 budget makes perhaps its rosiest revenue projection ever for sales-tax revenue, with an expected $1.2 million coming from Albany County. For this year’s budget, the village estimated $1.1 million in county sales tax; so far, Voorheesville has received three of its four quarterly payments from Albany County, the sum of which is a little over $983,000. 

Elected officials’ salaries remain unchanged from this year. 

The part-time mayor’s proposed annual salary is $15,000, while trustees would each take home $6,750. 


General fund

The appropriations proposed in the village’s general budget are set to increase from $1.73 million this year to about $1.89 million next year:

 — About $631,000 is allocated for transportation, which includes the public works department’s expenditures, up from $605,000. 

Included in the transportation budget for next year is a one-time cost of $159,000 for two DPW trucks;

— Total general government support, which includes the salaries of the village trustees, mayor, clerk-treasurer, and deputy clerk, is set to increase from about $326,500 to approximately $341,500. 

The increase can be attributed to the village’s contract for attorney Rich Reilly, which is set to go from $46,000 to $60,000; 

— About $257,000 for employee benefits; 

— About $231,500 for home and community, which includes fees paid to the Rapp Road landfill, the village’s contract for recycling pick-up, and all things planning and zoning in Voorheesville;

— Approximately $209,000 for public safety and health, which is up significantly from this year due to the village’s contract for ambulance services with the Albany County Sheriff’s Office, which is set to increase from $37,000 to $70,000. 

The village didn’t have a rescue squad contract from the sheriff at budget-making time last year and used the $37,000 figure. The board amended the rescue-squad budget in February, adding an additional $21,000 to the line. 

The $37,000 “is what we had information on” when the village built this year’s budget, Trustee Sarita Winchell said at a recent meeting. “That was not the correct number.” It should have been $58,000 from the start. 

Mayor Rich Straut said at the March meeting that it was his understanding the “increase was largely because [the sheriff’s office] needed to raise salaries,” so it could stay competitive with other agencies, which “we’ve been hearing that for a couple years”;

— About $97,000 is to service the village’s debt; and 

— Approximately $52,000 for culture and recreation, up from $37,000, with the cost of a $5,000 mower and increase in contractual services from $14,000 to $20,000, accounting for the major portions of the increase. 

The village is expecting about $1.67 million in revenues:

— The largest chunk, about $1.2 million in sales tax, is distributed to municipalities by the county based on population;

— About $316,000 from property taxes;

— Approximately $156,500 from New York State, with $115,500 coming in the form of highway aid and $40,000 in mortgage-recording taxes;

— $64,000 in franchise fees;

— About $53,000 from property rentals; and

— $27,000 from taxing utility providers.

Nothing would be appropriated from fund balance.


Water and sewer

The proposed water budget totals about $595,500, which is down from $683,000 this year when 100,000 additional dollars were included for work on main upgrades and replacements.

The village estimates it will receive $595,500 in revenues from two main sources: $560,000 in metered water sales and $26,000 in interest and penalties from water rent. No fund balance will be used. 

Voorheesville has a 2023-24 sewer budget of about $305,000, which is down slightly from this year.

Last year, the village rolled its smaller sewer district — along Pleasant Street —  in with its larger one — Salem Hills, which includes Maple Avenue, Mountainview Street, and Quail Run — to create one district as part of its Main Street sewer project.

The village anticipates $276,000 in rents, and expects to use about $14,000 of fund balance and $16,000 in interest and fees to cover the remainder. 

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