The tentative 2013 budget will continue its run of no town taxes except for those that are voter-approved, including the library taxes of $.14 per thousand and the service award program for ambulance service volunteers at a tax rate of $.01 per thousand. The tentative budget assumes that sales tax revenues, mortgage taxes and building permits will all continue to increase in 2013. The budget also includes the use of $35,000 of the town’s “rainy day” fund to cover appropriations that are not considered the town’s core missions but will benefit the town’s residents.
Town Supervisor Paul Sausville added that this tentative budget plan is just the beginning of the process of deciding the actual budget, and that the town will hold budget workshops to determine the details of the actual budget.
Other issues the town addressed at the meeting included a controversial driveway maintenance law, which would attempt to control discharge of debris and sand onto public roads in Malta. The problem was initiated by a resident who has created hazardous conditions on his/her road and property yet is refusing to comply with the town on removing the hazards. One resident at the meeting objected to the law, saying that it was “overkill” and that it would give the local government more unnecessary power.
Councilman John Hartzell defended the law, saying that the Town Board has sat through many long meetings to discuss the issue and identify other options, but that some people won’t comply no matter what they try, leading to this final act. “At the end of the day, we can’t have hazards on our roads and not get it taken care of,” Hartzell said.
The law will have four components: Identifying the problem, bringing in the individual, reviewing the matter, and trying to reconcile the problem. If after these four steps the individual still won’t fix the problem, he or she will then have to deal with local law enforcement. The board carried a motion to move forward with the law.
Last, the board revised the budget for the highway garage expansion. The budget originally sat at $2.1 million, but changes — adding a fifth floor of the garage, laying brick on the outside and higher-than-anticipated bids by contractors — have increased the budget need to $2.8 million. The motion to increase the budget was passed by the Town Board.