Guilderland’s $36M budget for 2021 down 1.2% 

Enterprise file photo

Guilderland Supervisor Peter Barber said during a recent board meeting that the town was able to reduce appropriations in its 2021 budget by forgoing some capital expenditures like vehicle purchases. Due in large part to the economic impact of the pandemic, Guilderland’s budget for 2021 reduces appropriations by about $800,000, and revenues by roughly the same amount. 

GUILDERLAND — At $35.8 million, the town of Guilderland’s adopted budget for next year is down 1.2 percent from this year’s $36.3 million spending plan.

The 2021 budget does not rely upon any new borrowing or the use of reserves, does not require the use of fund balances from either the town’s general or highway funds, and anticipates reductions in sales tax, recreation fees, court fines, and state highway aid.

There will be no change to the town-wide general tax rate, 18.5 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.

Due in large part to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Guilderland’s budget for 2021 reduces appropriations by about $800,000, largely by forgoing some capital expenditures like vehicle purchases, Supervisor Peter Barber said during the Nov. 5 public hearing where the budget was unanimously adopted by the town board.

“This doesn’t happen, though,” Barber said of the appropriations reductions at an Oct. 6 board meeting, “without the department heads coming forward and suggesting some changes.”

The town’s emergency medical services did some adjusting and saved about $232,000 “in salaries and whatnot,” Barber said. “We also had a number of retirements in the police department and other places … but we do get people in at a lower cost so there are no new positions in the budget, Barber said on Oct. 6. There’s a freeze on almost all the vehicles “with the possible exception of two police vehicles because we don’t want cars falling apart.”

The total police budget line for next year is up 1.1 percent from this year, while police retirement payments are expected to rise 7.7 percent. 

Revenues are down about the same as appropriations, Barber said on Nov. 5. The town is expecting to receive about $11.6 million in sales-tax revenue from Albany County in 2021, down from the $12.66 million it expected this year — actual sales-tax revenue received by the town at the time the preliminary budget was prepared, Oct. 2, was down about 8 percent from last year, from about $9.4 million to approximately $8.6 million. 

Two-thirds of 2021 town revenue is expected to come from two sources, sales tax, at $11.6 million, and the total property-tax levy, at nearly $12 million, an increase of 1.9 percent over this year, but still under the state-set levy limit, which had been calculated at around 2.5 percent.

Other major revenue sources for Guilderland in 2021 are expected to be:

— Emergency medical services at $1.8 million;

— Mortgage taxes at $400,000, which is down from $450,000 this year;

— Rent collected from tenants using town-owned facilities, $350,000; and

— A bevy fees and fines associated with, among other sources, the registrar; town court; seniors; dogs; cable television; “other”; and the town’s recreation, police, fire, and building departments — for $2.3 million.

Among the town’s major line-item expenditures are those associated with the police department, $5.6 million; and the highway department, $4.86 million.

Guilderland’s water and sewer districts, whose $10.1 million cost is borne by the residents who use those services, are the only town funds that will have to tap their fund balances, or rainy-accounts, in 2021, for approximately $660,000. 

No town reserves were added to this budget cycle, Barber said on Nov. 5.

The 2021 Guilderland budget also includes a 2-percent raise for town employees, none of whom were furloughed or laid off because of the pandemic, Barber also noted last week.

 The 2021 salaries for the Guilderland’s full-time elected officials are to be $123,625 for town supervisor; $77,684 the town clerk; and $103,442 for the highway superintendent. In part-time posts, the town’s three judges would each earn about $55,932 while each of the four town board members would take home about $26,449.

During the Oct. 6 board meeting, Barber also pointed out that Guilderland had been prepared for 2021 in part because of budget planning that began long before anyone had heard of the coronavirus. “I want to thank the board for last year; you may … remember that, while many towns were anticipating further growth, we prepared a budget for this year, in 2019, based upon what we thought would be a recession this year,” he said. ​

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