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Canton town budget hikes property taxes by 4.8 percent

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CANTON — Town property taxes will increase by 4.8 percent under a 2013 budget unanimously adopted Thursday by the Town Council following a public hearing that drew little input from residents.

The only question came from Bradshaw Mintener, 77 Main St., who asked the board if all town employees will receive raises in the new $2,625,316 spending plan that takes effect Jan. 1. The budget, crafted by Town Supervisor David T. Button, includes salary hikes for all town employees and a 2 percent raise for himself and the four members of the council.

Town councilman Daniel G. Fay said some town employees will be paid more because their duties increase next year when Canton village court dissolves.

Salaries for the town’s two justices will increase from $21,218 to $26,142, while a court clerk position will increase from $23,523 to $33,000.

“Some responsibilities have changed,” Mr. Fay said.

The 4.8 percent tax levy increase is below the 7 percent maximum the town is allowed, based on a calculation from the state Comptroller’s Office, Mr. Button said.

Rising employee retirement costs and a 10 percent hike in health insurance benefits are chiefly to blame for the $27,101 increase in spending over this year’s budget.

Retirement costs are slated to increase from $134,777 to $143,754, while health insurance will spike by 10 percent.

The amount of revenue raised by property taxes will increase by $48,849, rising from $1,074,742 to $1,127,011.

As a result, the tax rate will increase from $2.29 per $1,000 of assessed property value to $2.40.

The budget keeps highway improvement funding at $350,000 which is earmarked to renovate seven miles of town roads.

Salaries paid to town council members will increase from $4,545 to $4,635 while Mr. Button’s salary will increase from $13,240 to $13,504. Denice Button, bookkeeper, will see her annual salary increase from $34,390 to $35,077 while Town Clerk Lisa Hammond’s salary will increase from $34,894 to $35,991.

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