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Budget raises taxes

Council reviews Johnstown plan

November 6, 2012
By MICHAEL ANICH , The Leader Herald

JOHNSTOWN - City officials on Monday released a tentative $11 million city budget for 2013, which carries a tax-levy increase of 4.6 percent, slightly below the state's property-tax cap.

The Common Council reviewed the tentative budget and scheduled a public hearing on the plan, which calls for a tax-rate increase of 1.5 percent, bringing property owners' tax rate to $17.49 per $1,000 of assessed value. The hearing will take place at 7 p.m. Nov. 19 at City Hall.

"To be able to stay within the tax cap in these economic times is very positive for the city," Mayor Sarah Slingerland said today.

She wasn't in attendance to present her tentative spending plan to the council Monday night. Councilman-at-Large Bryan Marcucci presented the budget, which the council will review further.

"I'm happy with it," Marcucci said of the budget. "I'm assuming everyone else on the council is."

He said the council will consider adopting the budget sometime after the hearing Nov. 19. Typically, the council adopts the following year's budget by sometime in early to mid-December.

Fact Box


Here are highlights of Johnstown's tentative 2013 budget:

Appropriations: $11 million; $503,200 increase over 2012.

Tax levy: $4.53 million; increase of 4.6 percent but within state tax cap.

Tax rate: $17.49 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, a 1.5 percent rate increase.

Total appropriations in the city's tentative budget are just over $11 million - a $503,200 increase over the city's current $10.5 million 2012 budget. The budget increase in appropriations totals 4.8 percent for next year. Items reflecting some of the increases in the budget include $245,000 built into the budget for proposed Rail Trail improvements, which are funded 80 percent by the federal government.

The city's $2.4 million Department of Public Works budget for 2013 shows a 10 percent increase, but most of that represents reimbursable federal funding for Rail Trail work planned for next year. City Engineer Chandra Cotter said a section of the trail through the city could be repaved with a 1 1/2-inch topcoat. Improvements also would involve adding new signs.

Other areas of the budget showing an increase are $102,000 in pensions, a $56,000 increase in health insurance and a $99,900 increase in other costs.

No cuts in services or layoffs are proposed. The mayor's $14,800 salary and the council members' $4,420 salaries would remain the same for 2013.

The city's property tax levy for next year would increase by 4.6 percent, from about $4.53 million in this year's budget to $4.73 million for next year.

City Treasurer Michael Gifford said Monday the levy increase statistically is just below the state-mandated levy cap of 4.6 percent for 2013. That cap is $4,735,288 and includes certain exemptions the city is allowed to factor in, which drove the normal 2 percent state cap up to the 4.6 percent level for the city.

The city tax rate for 2013 would go up 26 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.

The increase would amount to a $12.95 increase on the tax bill of a city property owner with a $50,000 parcel, and a $25.90 addition to the bill of a property owner with a $100,000 parcel.

Officials on Monday released a table of the city's tax rates going back to 2004, when it was $17.28 per $1,000. At its lowest point in the last nine city budgets, the rate was at $15.53 per $1,000 in 2008. The rate has crept up to the $17.49-per-$1,000 level for 2013. That rate is 21 cents more per $1,000 than it was in 2004.

The city Police Department's budget would increase from $1.65 million in 2012 to $1.74 million for 2013. The city Fire Department's budget also would go up, from $1.48 million to $1.54 million.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at



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