GLOVERSVILLE -Mayor Dayton King officially presented his proposed $17.32 million 2017 city budget to the Common Council on Tuesday.
The budget calls for tax rate of $20.64 per $1,000 of assessed value, a 2 percent decrease from the 2016 tax rate of $21.06 per $1,000.
“The one complaint that I hear more than any other is that the taxes are too high,” King said. “In fact, I hear this complaint almost every week from people in our city, Realtors when trying to sell a home and others who are considering moving here.”
The budget will use around $1 million of the city’s fund balance, its reserve of unspent tax revenues, to make up a budget gap between revenues and expenditures. King said city’s fund balance is currently almost 40 percent of the yearly budget.
The proposed budget also includes six new positions; three new patrol officers, one detective, a police department clerk and a deputy building inspector.
“We need to continue to maintain a strong police force to deter criminal activity in our city and our county. We need to make would-be-criminals think before they commit crimes in our city,” King said.
King said the budget includes raises for the council, city attorney, clerk and himself.
King’s salary would increase by around 4 percent from $47,466 to $49,380.
According to the budget, the total salaries for councilmembers would increase from $25,375 to $36,250, a jump of about 42 percent.
King said the council could adjust or eliminate any raises during their review of the budget in October.
The city is also looking to purchase plow trucks with attached salt boxes.
On the revenue side, the city is budgeting a decrease in Real Property taxes to $7.6 million from $7.7 million in 2016. The budget also anticipates a drop in sales tax from $3.5 million to $3.41 million in 2016.
Despite projections, the city could have revenue increases in 2017 from the Dollar Tree expected to open at the former Rite Aid on North Main Street and Shoe Dept. Encore expected to open near the Walmart Supercenter. The city however, is not budgeting extra funds from these properties, in case any issues arise with opening dates.
“We have decided not to budget any extra money for this – however, as we know, there can be unforeseen issues that hold-up start dates,” King said.
King said the city is not expecting any additional state aid for 2017 and have budgeted $2.3 million again.
“We plan to aggressively lobby the state for more state aid and to show us the formula they use to determine how much each municipality receives,” King said. “We believe strongly that we are receiving much less than we should be based on population, demographic, need and other statistics.”
The city is also including $500,000 in revenue from the Smart Waters agreement with Fulton County.
The agreement provides water for the Fulton County Water and Sewer Agency to use anywhere in the county, and provides revenue to the city. County officials are looking to spread water and sewer service to more parts of the county to boost economic development.
Additional revenue sources include $360,000 in state Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program and state funding for the city’s transit system.
King also spoke about minimum staffing at the fire department. He said he is looking at ways to reduce the number of people who are required to be at the firehouse in its contractual obligation.
King said he is looking to change the minimum number of people on from seven to five, which would allow for flexibility if someone calls out or is on vacation.
The council will begin meeting with department heads starting Oct. 13 to review their budget proposals.
“I am very proud of this year’s budget and believe the hard work that so many of us have been doing for so long is really starting to pay off. Let’s keep moving forward.
Kerry Minor can be reached at [email protected].