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Sun., Oct. 4
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Champion passes budget with decreased tax rate


WEST CARTHAGE — With no one to speak at the public hearing, the Champion Town Council approved its proposed 2014 budget.

The total proposed spending plan is $2,697,589, with $1,016,099 to be raised by property taxes. Last year’s $3,479,612 budget had a tax levy of $994,709. The proposed tax rate for the fiscal year beginning Jan. 1 is $2.80 per $1,000 of assessed property value, down 5 cents from last year’s $2.85 rate.

“We’re down a nickel due to the growth in the town and fiscal responsibility,” Supervisor Terry L. Buckley said.

He pointed out the town’s tax levy limit according to state formula would be $901,994; however, the Champion tax levy within the state provisions is $893,745, a difference of $9,249, which is less than the 1.66 percent tax cap.

“It’s a pretty good budget,” Mr. Buckley said. “We’ve reduced taxes and are under on the levy. The sad part is what we lowered, Jefferson County will make up for.”

The proposed budget includes salaries for village employees as follows: supervisor, $17,000; four council members at $4,400 each; town clerk/tax collector, $33,800, and highway superintendent, $48,500.

The board agreed to sign with accounting firm Furgison & Co. of Hammond for a five-year contract beginning at $5,545 for the first year and increasing annually to $6,740 at the end of the contract.

“They’ve held the line on what they are charging us and they’re not bad people to work with. They have made us ready to take the next step to qualify for USDA funds. Next year it will be cheaper and they are in the ballpark with other auditors,” Mr. Buckley said before the vote. The accounting firm conducted the audit to Governmental Accounting Standards Board requirements.

Mr. Buckley told the board he had been contacted by the state comptroller’s office that it will be conducting an audit for the same years the Furgison firm has just completed.

The town board agreed to contribute to the needed upgrades to the firemen’s field in West Carthage. The town will foot the $2,000 bill for a fire hydrant to be installed at the firematics course in preparation for the Northern New York Firefighters Convention to be held in June.

Mr. Buckley said funding could be pulled from a number of line items in the budget, including the bed tax, since it will aid in the promotion of the town; fire protection, since it concerns the fire department, or contingency.

The board authorized Town Clerk Christina M. Vargulick to relevy water and sewer bills to Jefferson County for collection with county taxes. The sewer bills totaled $938.68, and for the four water districts, the bills were a total of $4,704.82.

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