New Scotland approves $8.2M budget for 2019

NEW SCOTLAND — The town’s $8.2 million budget for 2019 is up about $500,000 from the 2018 adopted budget, a nearly 6-percent increase.

The spending plan puts New Scotland about $6,000 under the state-set levy limit, also known as a tax cap. To cover the increase, the town will drain about $190,000 from its fund balance. This leaves about $2.8 million in the rainy-day account.

The current tax rate for all New Scotland residents (including those who live in the village of Voorheesville) is $1.40 per $1,000 of assessed value; the 2019 rate will be $1.45 per $1,000.

Refuse and garbage disposal is allowed an increase of about $52,000, of which $40,000 is specifically earmarked for the increase in tipping fees for recyclables.

New Scotland’s snow-removal budget is up about $44,ooo over last year, from roughly $366,000 to about $410,000, as a correction of an historically under-budgeted line, Supervisor Douglas LaGrange told The Enterprise last month.

In total, the highway budget outside the village is up about $191,000.

The largest expected sources of revenue for the town are $2.8 million in property taxes; $2.1 million from county sales tax; $230,000 from mortgage tax; and $226,000 in state aid for the highway department.

Elected officials will also see an increase in pay next year. The 2018 salary for town supervisor, a full-time job, is $61,227; in 2019, it will be $62,962. The four t board members, who work part-time, were each paid $9,093 this year; next year, each will receive $9,785.

In 2018, the town clerk, a full-time post, earned $57,253; in 2019, the salary will be $58,398. The highway superintendent, another full-time post, will take home $72,676 this year; next year, it will be $74,130.

And the two town judges, who work part-time, are each paid $27,632 this year; in 2019, each will earn $28,184.

Dog law

The board also set a public hearing, for Dec. 12 at 6:35 p.m., for a bill to amend the town’s dog-control law.

“It’s been something that has kind of popped up every couple of months,” LaGrange said of problems with dogs; someone contacts the town or comes to a board meeting to say that they had encountered a situation where another dog had not been leashed and an incident occured, he said.

“It’s a tough one, because you’d like to be able to let your dog run but at the same time when we’re in a public place … It’s just out of respect, we should have better control of our animals,” LaGrange said. “You hear too many stories, and I don’t want to be in a position where we hear the story of a dog attacking a child.”

Under the proposed law, every dog that is on public property, including streets and sidewalks, would have to be on a leash.

The existing law says that dogs have to be restrained by an adequate leash, unless it is accompanied by, and under the full control of, its owner or a responsible person. But it makes no mention of public property.

The proposed law also makes it unlawful for a dog in New Scotland:

— To be present on private property unless it is restrained by a leash; the property is owned by the dog’s owner; or “the owner of the private property has granted permission for the dog to be off-leash”;

— To be within 10 feet of a public playground;

— To be present at any special event or festival on town-owned property (the town still has to decide if leashed dogs would be allowed); and

— To engage in aggressive behavior.

Other business

In other business, the town board:

— Approved an agreement with the the New York Power Authority that, for $78,000, to replace New Scotland’s 93 street-light fixtures with new high-efficient light-emitting-diode technology.

The project will pay for itself in a little less than six-and-a-half years, according to NYPA. After that, the town would save about $12,ooo annually — about $7,000 in energy costs, and about $5,000 from maintenance savings;

— Approved a second addendum to the town’s contract with its waste hauler, Wright Disposal. In May, the board had approved the first addendum and agreed to pay Wright an additional $15,586, after the cost of disposing of recyclables went from $10 to $40 per ton.

In June, the cost of recycling in the Capital Region exploded to $120 per ton; but has since leveled off at $60 per ton.

With the second addendum, the town will, for one year, pay Wright an additional $31,200.

The new agreement says Wright is obligated to report to the town the tonnage and cost of recycling so New Scotland can then re-adjust costs as needed;

— Appointed Michael McGuire as the town’s assessor after the previous assessor, Deborah Corbari, stepped down to take another job.

McGuire will fill out the remainder of Cobari’s term, which ends Sept. 30, 2019. The board can then elect to keep McGuire for a full six-year term, or name a new assessor; and

—  Appointed Christopher McCarthy as chairman of the board of assessment review. The term ends Dec. 31, 2018.

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