Mayor’s budget calls for tax cut

GLOVERSVILLE – Mayor Dayton King on Tuesday presented his proposed 2014 city budget, which calls for a nearly 2 percent tax-levy decrease, two new city jobs and funding for local senior citizens agencies.

“It is now time to start decreasing the tax burden that is too high,” King said.

The $15.8 million budget proposal, which is up $400,000 from this year’s budget, calls for the hiring of a new deputy building inspector and a police officer.

“Officers have been working very hard to make our community safe for people who live, work and visit Gloversville,” King said. “Adding an additional patrol officer will go a long way in continuing the progress our Police Department is making.”

The proposal would contribute $3,500 to the Office for Aging and $8,500 to the city senior center.

King said his budget, which includes no layoffs or reductions in services, calls for a 1.84 percent tax decrease. The budget would lower the city tax rate from $21.71 per $1,000 of assessed value to $21.31.

“I agree with the 2 percent decrease and I hope we can make that even higher,” said 1st Ward Councilwoman Robin Wentworth. “I also agree with another police officer. The chief has spoken with many of us individually, and I believe the majority of the council support and understand why that is needed.”

However, she said she doesn’t know if another building inspector is in the city’s best interest because “we need to revamp the whole system and the way it’s done.”

Councilmen Jay Zarrelli and Wrandy Siarkowski said they still have to review the budget before they can comment on whether they think the mayor’s proposals are feasible.

Zarrelli said he supports hiring another police officer but still has to “really go over it.”

King said the state comptroller wants cities to have between 8 percent and 10 percent of the budget in the fund balance. King said, under his plan, Gloversville would have that amount available after it uses $900,000 of the $3 million fund balance.

King said his budget reflects added expenses such as the workers’ compensation insurance cost shifting from Fulton County to Gloversville and contractual costs within city departments.

The cost to Gloversville for the workers’ comp insurance will be $175,527 in 2014.

The 2013 budget, which totaled $15.4 million, used $543,324 from the city’s fund balance.

King said he believes by the time the Common Council is done reducing his budget, the tax levy may go down by 2 percent.

“I’m very proud of the work that our department heads, finance team and Common Council have done over the past few years to get us where we are today,” King said. “In 2014, we need to have more communication, collaboration and consolidation.”

Gloversville property owners pay the highest city tax rate in upstate New York, according to a report by the Empire Center for New York State Policy.

Residents of the city and the Gloversville Enlarged School District pay a combined city, school and Fulton County tax rate of $52.40 per $1,000 of assessed value, the study showed.

King said retail businesses in the city will increase sales tax revenue and property tax revenue for the city.

Walmart this year opened a new store in the city. City officials say they expect $600,000 to $800,000 per year in additional sales tax revenue from the store. In addition, a new Burger King plans to open off South Kingsboro Avenue in Gloversville, bringing in an estimated $20,000 to $25,000 in new sales tax revenue, city officials said.

Copies of King’s budget can be obtained at the clerk’s office.

King said he worked with Councilman-at-Large James Robinson, the finance commissioner, deputy finance commissioner and each department head to complete the budget.

A budget review is scheduled for Nov. 6 at 6 p.m. in City Hall.

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