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Oswegatchie Town Council approves preliminary 2013 budget

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HEUVELTON - The town of Oswegatchie has a tentative $2.1 million spending plan for 2013 that carries a tax rate decrease and a $36,000 levy increase.

Meeting Monday, the town board voted 5-0 in favor of the $2,091,701 tentative spending plan and its tax rate of $2.66 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. The 2012 budget is $2,129,534 with a tax rate of $3.05.

The tax levy is slated at $596,093, up $559,986 from this year.

The public hearing on the budget will be held Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall, 51 State St. It must be adopted by Nov. 20.

Budget Officer William E. Dashnaw said it was worth noting that the town succeeded at both keeping costs and taxes down.

“Twenty years and you haven’t seen a (tax rate) spike,” he said.

Mr. Dashnaw also noted that the town managed to stay under the state-imposed 2 percent cap on property tax increases.

“You want to stay under the tax cap,” he said. “That’s my direction. It’s under the tax cap.”

Board member Lillian O. LaRose commended Mr. Dashnaw for keeping the town “on the right track” financially.

“You think for the taxpayer,” she said. “We’re all in this together.”

In the preliminary budget, the town’s taxable value rose to $223,767,278 from this year’s $189,755,568.

The town conducted an assessment revaluation earlier this year. The budget includes $65,000 earmarked for legal challenges to it, an appropriation that might or might not be sufficient.

“Who knows where that’s going to go?” Mr. Dashnaw said.

Also, the board agreed to raise from $25,000 to $26,500 the annual salary of the successor to Town Clerk Janet M. Wheater, who is retiring Dec. 31.

The town’s annual contract to provide fire protection to Heuvelton and Morristown will cost, respectively, $106,138 and $17,500 for a total expense of $123,638.

Fees and charges for permits, licenses and services are expected to generate $118,100 for the town in 2013. That is up from this year’s $115,300 to $118,100.

The town’s 2013 allocation from the state’s Consolidated Highway Improvement Program is expected to stay at the same level as this year at $135,180.

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