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Hilltowns Archives —The Altamont Enterprise, November 20, 2008

Westerlo 2009 budget

By Zach Simeone

WESTERLO — The town’s preliminary budget for 2009 totals at about $2.5 million, up about $100,000 from this year’s $2.4 million budget. About $992,000 is to be raised by taxes, $10,000 more than for this year’s budget.

“I think it’s as good as I could do,” said Supervisor Richard Rapp. He was unsure of the tax rate, and it is not specified in the preliminary budget. “We kept it as low as we could,” he said. “Taxes went up very little — maybe 1 percent.”

The Albany County sales tax accounts for the bulk of the town’s revenues.

Appropriations for the general fund are up to about $1,120,000, nearly $40,000 more than for 2008. Highway fund appropriations total at $895,876, down $49 from this year. The town is also using $237,216 from its fund balance.

The budget has grown larger because of “the rising cost of materials, labor and everything else,” Rapp said. “Let’s face it — prices on blacktop and oil are going out of sight. Gas is going down now, but it’s going to go back up, I’m sure.”

About $422,000 will go towards government services, up nearly $14,000 from this year. “That would be for the raises,” Rapp said. The town clerk, town judges, and the entire highway department will be getting raises of roughly 4.5 percent, he said. “Town board and everyone else stayed the same.”

Public health costs will increase by nearly $11,000, to about $81,000. Close to $230,000 will be appropriated for home and community services, $14,000 more than this year. Sanitation costs are on the rise as well, up to $185,000 — almost $18,000 more than this year.

The town will receive almost $30,000 less in revenue from local sources. “That’s because what we get from sales tax is going to go down,” Rapp said of the decrease in revenues. “In the Capital District area, we’ve been good with sales tax, but, this coming year, it’s going to come down. But that’s only my projection,” he said.

“I can’t see how we could have reduced costs anymore,” Rapp concluded. “We’re right down to the bare bone. With the economy the way it is, nobody wants to pay more taxes, so, you do your best to keep [the budget] as low as you can.”

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