The data was not posted on the Town's web site as requested, it was emailed just to me…why?
The Budget is published in .pdf documents on the Town website.
Where are the year-to-year comparisons? Previous year actual, current year budget, current year-to-date and 2020 proposed?
The previous year actual is available on the Town website as part of the Annual Update Document filed with NYS as well is in the Town’s financial statements as prepared by an independent auditing firm. The current year budget is part of the adopted 2019 budget and is also included in the 2020 Preliminary Budget document. The annual budgets are prepared using previous years’ original budgets and the final expenditures and revenues so the comparisons are a complete picture.
I assume "Current Year Original" means 2019 adopted budget amount and is the single point of comparison - correct?
Yes, original budget is the adopted budget. Each year, the ensuing budget is compared to the adopted budget of the current year for an apples to apples view.
Staff annual salary increases appears to variable by department - what is the anticipated annual increase percent across all departments, who decides this?
Payroll increases do vary by department as COLA and employee step increases are included. The COLA for 2020 is decided by the Town Board and is proposed at 2.25%.
Where is the fire district budget input, is it late again?
Slide 30 of the Preliminary Budget Presentation depicts the proposed budgets of the fire districts. Each fire district has the authority to levy taxes and each is completely separate from the Town’s budget, so this slide is for informational purposes only. The Proposed budgets are posted on the bulletin board of the Town Hall entranceway if you’d like to see more of the details regarding appropriations and revenues. Or, you are encouraged to contact the fire district which directly serves your area for more details on their budget.
Are the Hospital-Medical Ins, Detail, Social Security, Retirement, Workers Comp, totaled in one place? Why some increases and some decreases? What are the total costs and projected increase or decrease?
The benefits appropriations are part of the fund in which employees are budgeted; General (A), Highway (DA), Library (L) and Sewer operations (S10). The amounts are based on current policy levels, and anticipated rate increases.
Account A00-1000-1120-0000 -- Sales tax distribution is projected to increase $300k is that realistic and why?
Yes, determined on four year average and current market trends.
Account DA0-1000-1001-0000 -- Real property taxes is projected to increase $160k is that realistic?
DA is one component of the General Governmental tax levy. The three components are A, DA and L. The Town’s anticipated tax rate for 2020 remains at $2.78 so the levy is realistic.
It appears that some retiring bond debt and reduced annual costs are helping with managing the 2020 budget...please elaborate.
As bonds are paid off, the debt burden for those pieces are removed from the projected debt service. In 2019, the debt service associated with library improvements, the debt for the Thomas Cove water district and a sewer refunding bond were all paid in full. In addition, in 2019 the BAN for the Shadow Pines acquisition was paid in full as the project was put to permanent financing.
Account A00-1355-0001-1011 -- Why is the assessor’s office adding a full time staff member, and is there an upcoming reassessment, if so starting when?
A PT position in the Assessor’s Office was converted to a FT position in 2019 based on the customer service needs of the department.
Accounts A00-1620-0004-4061 A00-1620-0004-4161 -- What is the $58k reduction of RGE annual costs attributable to new solar array?
If so, it is worth highlighting! Yes, the anticipated expenditures for electricity was reduced for 2020 thanks to the new solar array. This success was highlighted in both budget presentations.
Account A00-1620-0004-4661 -- Why $30k decrease in facilities account for Shadow Pines/Clark House?
The funds budgeted in 2019 were for anticipated contractual tree work. Thanks to skilled town crews, the majority of the work was able to be completed by them.
Account A00-9710-0006-6005 -- Why $20k reduction in Land Acquisition Shadow Pines Bond?
($100k to $80k) The 2019 budget was prepared with estimates for debt service for the bond. Permanent financing, based on the actual bond rate, happened in 2019.
Fund S10 Sewer Fund -- Why are sewer fund revenues going up by $87k and surplus fund being used?
Fund balance is appropriated to purchase equipment in the sewer department. As mentioned in both budget presentations, the rate for residential sewers, comprised of O&M cost and debt cost is actually going down for 2020 by over $3.
Account SL0-1000-1001-0000 -- Why are town wide lighting district revenues going down $35k?
The tax levy for lighting is decreasing as are the corresponding appropriations for lighting. As mentioned in the answer to question 11, the solar array is a major component.
Account A00-5410-0003-3015 -- Why is there $140k for new sidewalk installation?
Where will that be spent? Widen some selected routes per Bicycle Master Plan? Appropriations in 3015 are for a new sidewalk installation along Huntington Meadow from Clark Road to Panorama Trail.
How much total money from previous years/reserve/surplus/fund balance is being used to help augment the 2020 budget?
As shown on the summary page of the budget, slide 31 of the Preliminary Budget presentation and in the revenue detail of the Preliminary Budget document, a total of $670,340 is appropriated.
What are the major capital projects anticipated in 2020 that this budget supports?
The 2020 supports the purchase of: one 10-wheel dump truck, two 6-wheel dump trucks, one loader, eight pickup trucks, one mini excavator and one sidewalk tractor. The capital funding also supports upgrades to pump stations, facility improvements, new playground equipment, sidewalk installation, the annual road rehabilitation program and computer improvements.
Questions from the Public Hearing
How much is budgeted/spent on pesticides?
There isn’t an amount specifically budgeted for pesticides. We have been exploring environmentally friendly options in lieu of pesticides including vinegar solutions, over-seeding, etc. Pesticides are used minimally and the certified Town employees do not treat playgrounds or ballfields. In 2019, $1,235 was expended on herbicide.
What is the current fund balance?
The current fund balance amounts are detailed in the 2018 Annual Update Document and the Town’s financial statements posted on the Town website. The total in the General fund is $9,510,986. Of this amount, $1,188,644 is classified as unassigned. The remaining amount is classified as either non-spendable, restricted or assigned based on future use. The uses of restricted and assigned balances include: equipment, capital and infrastructure improvements; amounts appropriated to ensuing budgets, anticipated benefit increases and encumbrances in 2019. The Highway fund balance is $2,612,806 and the Library fund balance is $572,194. Both of those funds are restricted by law and can only be spent for highway and library needs, respectively. The 2019 amounts will be recognized when the ledger is closed and audited in 2020.