Town of Johnstown supervisor projects 5 cent tax rate cut

From left, Johnstown Town Board member Donald VanDeusen discusses town business with Town Board members Timothy Rizzo and Walt Lane during the board’s Monday meeting at Town Hall. 

TOWN OF JOHNSTOWN — The Town Board voted unanimously Monday night to set Oct. 26 at 6 p.m. as the time for the public hearing for the town’s 2022 budget, which Supervisor Jack Wilson said will include a 5 cents per thousand dollars of assessed value tax rate reduction.

Johnstown’s Town budget and tax rate include the combination of multiple tax rates and property tax levies for the town’s general fund, volunteer fire departments and the Town Highway Department.

According to the New York state comptroller’s office the Town of Johnstown’s full value tax rate for 2021 was $2.83 cents per thousand dollars of assessed value, although that may not be the figure being used for the 5 cent projected tax rate reduction.

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Town Board members Monday night were uncertain what the new combined town tax rate would be, but said that number will be available at the public hearing Oct. 26.

Wilson’s 2022 budget includes $1.288 million in general fund expenses, an increase of $99,923 from the 2021 budget. Wilson’s tentative budget shows the Town Highway Department 2022 budget to be $1.73 million and an increase of $103,406 from the 2021 town highway budget of $1.62 million. Both of those budgets are balanced by a total projected 2022 town property tax levy of $838,568.

Wilson said the property tax rate can be reduced for 2022 because the town’s sales tax revenues have exceeded projections in recent years, providing enough money to lower the property tax levy.

“The uptick in sales tax and mortgage tax are the primary drivers of [the property tax reduction,” Wilson said.

Wilson said the Town of Johnstown has received approximately $800,000 in COVID-19 pandemic relief funds from the federal government, which the town is using to invest in improved water infrastructure.

“We’ll be having Travis Mitchell [of Clifton Park based Environmental Design Partners] to talk to us [during the Oct. 26 meeting] about the work that’s going on with water districts,” Wilson said. “We’re going to put new water and sewer lines here to town hall. There’s also a need to upgrade the lines on Saratoga Boulevard, and there’s other work that has to be done up in the Berkshire area.”

During Monday’s Town Board meeting, Board member Tim Rizzo questioned whether the town’s plan to increase the salaries of its non-union employees by 3% was sufficient given projections of annual inflation that could exceed that amount.

President Biden’s administration last week released projections that U.S. inflation adjusted growth for 2021 will be 7.1% for 2021, the highest U.S. growth since the early 1980s, but inflation is also projected to be 5.2% the highest it’s been since the early 1980s.

Rizzo said he’s afraid the town’s 3% raises won’t be enough, and he plans to propose a higher increase during the town’s budget process.

“Our employees’ salaries aren’t keeping pace with the standard,” Rizzo said.

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By Jason Subik

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