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New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, October 15, 2009

Budget slashed
Dolin proposes 5% tax cut

By Saranac Hale Spencer

NEW SCOTLAND — Supervisor Thomas Dolin has proposed an election-year budget with a 5-percent tax cut.

The $5.2 million spending plan is down from last year’s $5.6 million budget due largely to cutting back on positions and hours, said Dolin, who is up for re-election in November.

His draft does not include a cost-of-living increase, but, he said, he’d like to see a 1-percent raise for town workers — something he’ll discuss with the board.  Its first workshop meeting to review the budget will be tonight, Thursday, at the Wyman Osterhout Community Center at 6 p.m.

Dolin estimated that a 1-percent raise for all town workers would cost about $17,000 and would have a negligible impact on the budget as a whole.  “I’m definitely in favor of at least 1 percent,” he said, explaining that the cost of living is rising.  He cited the fact that employees’ share of the medical premiums will be going up 9 percent.

For the 2009 budget, the board gave a 3-percent raise to all town workers and an additional 1-percent raise to highway workers.

One of the biggest changes in the 2010 tentative budget is an 85-percent decrease in the engineering line — it went from $33,000 in 2009 to $5,000 in the tentative budget.

“I cut the engineering budget because I think we should only incur engineering expenses when they can be charged to a specific project,” Dolin said, adding that the cost of engineering should be weighed with the cost of the project as a whole.

Some services provided by the town, like excursions in the youth program, were cut back by the board earlier this year, Dolin said.  He has also suggested folding adult recreation into the senior outreach program and cutting it to $2,000 since the town has its own vans and no longer needs to charter buses.

A $30,000 line created in the 2009 budget for a planner was not carried into Dolin’s tentative 2010 budget because, he said, with Kensington Woods and the Colonie Country Club Estates already approved, there isn’t an immediate need for the town to hire a professional planner.  The money allotted in the 2009 budget hasn’t been used, he said.

Facing sharp declines in the expected sales tax and mortgage-recording tax revenues in the coming year was the most challenging part of constructing the tentative budget, Dolin said.

“I felt, because of the hard times… it would be nice to give some sort of tax reduction,” Dolin said.

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