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Hilltown Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, November 12, 2009

Westerlo approves $2.5 million budget to lower tax rate

By Zach Simeone

WESTERLO — At last week’s post-election meeting, the town board unanimously approved a $2.5 million budget for 2010, a mere $12,371 increase from the current budget. It will raise $993,582 by taxes, and the tax rate will decrease by $2.75, falling to $360.70 per thousand of assessed value.

Westerlo has not revalued its property in decades, so tax rates are high since values are low.

“I think a lot of us realize the cost of everything’s going up and up,” said Supervisor Richard Rapp this week. “We try to hold the line, but it’s not easy.”

Appropriations for the general fund are to be $1,135,540, and, for the highway fund, $897,817.

Between the general and highway funds, employee benefits will cost almost $32,000 more next year.

“The pension and the health care went up 30 percent,” Rapp said, explaining the increase. “I have no control over the pension and health care; that’s all up to the insurance companies.”

Appropriations for general government support are down from $421,490 this year to $406,490 next year.  Sanitation, a larger chunk in the budget, is costing $185,00, as it did last year.

The town anticipates $26,000 less revenue from non-property taxes, totaling $425,000.

“That’s the county sales tax,” Rapp said. “You know how it is; they buy less, we get less.”

Additionally, the preliminary budget projects a $15,000 increase in consolidated highway aid, rising to $90,000.

However, road maintenance costs are expected to rise $20,000 next year to $310,000.

“It’s because of the price in material,” Rapp explained. “The asphalt went through the roof.”

The town has $253,720 in its “rainy-day account.”

“I tell you, I don’t know what it’s all coming to,” Rapp concluded. “It’s unreal.”

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