Pelham village officials adopted a $12.9 million budget for 2012-2013 during Tuesday’s board meeting.
The $12,899,631 budget, which was approved unanimously, represents an increase of about 3.4 percent from this year’s budget. The tax levy for the budget is $10,038,058, which is 3.77 percent more than this year's budget.
Although the state had given the village a 2.3 percent cap on the amount it could increase the tax levy, the village board of trustees voted to override that cap earlier this month. Hotchkiss said the board’s decision to override the property tax cap was a product of the village having to pay historically high state pension contributions this year and next year.
“I just want to stress that again, this was a very difficult budget for us,” Hotchkiss said. “The main problem that we had with the budget is pension plans. We’re required to put approximately $1.4 million into pensions on a $13 million budget and that’s before we even pay salary.”
Hotchkiss said the reason some municipalities were given more room for tax levy growth than Pelham is that the village’s tax base didn’t grow. The growth of a municipality’s assessed value is one of the factors used in determining how much it can increase its tax levy under state law.
“Since we didn’t have any particular expansion to our tax base last year, it (the tax cap) was at a very low amount relative to everyone else,” Hotchkiss said.
Trustee Paul McGoldrick said the budget was crafted with the intention of maintaining the same level of services going into next year.
“That’s important to note,” McGoldrick said. “If there was anyway of doing this without changing those services we would have. But this is a reality. We need to keep the services to what everyone is accustomed to and, therefore, we had to go above the cap and do what we needed to do.”
The tax rate per thousand for homeowners will be about $7.51, an increase of about 7.9 percent from this year, and about $10.40 for commercial property owners, which represents a 13.6 percent increase.
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