The 2019 Preliminary Town Budget is now available for review at this link (or www.penfield.org, see Quick Links).
The proposed budget, including special districts, is $20,259,606, an increase of $1,120,212 from 2018. The Town Operating Budget, without special districts, is $17,300,547.
With this budget, the 2019 town tax rate is $2.78 per $1,000 of assessed property value, an increase of approximately 9 cents from 2018. (At this tax rate, a property in Penfield with a valuation of $190,000 will pay $528.20 for general governmental services, which is an increase of $17.10 over last year.)
The planning process for the 2019 budget is unique because of the purchase of Shadow Pines Golf Course that was approved by 80 percent of voters in a February 2018 special election. We came into this budget cycle anticipating a tax increase of 10 to 12 cents to cover the Shadow Pines debt and estimated ownership and maintenance costs.
I’m please to share that through the efforts of town staff and the town board, the 9 cent tax increase covers the Shadow Pines debt—along with financing for the purchase of capital equipment for DPW—and is actually lower than was estimated at the time of the public referendum to purchase Shadow Pines.
How did we do that? To begin, after the referendum, the town board chose to purchase the Clark House portion of the Shadow Pines with cash on hand, reducing the bond debt and related interest by $260,000. Next, sales tax revenue came in higher than expected, and DPW generated income from special projects for the Penfield Central School District and Monroe County. Further, we will use reserve funding that grew significantly in 2018 (rather than borrowing) to finance capital equipment for DPW including a sweeper, 6-wheeler, 10-wheeler, and other vehicle replacements. This budget also includes a new playground at Harris Whalen Park to be financed through a dedicated recreation trust.
As in previous years, the annual challenge of expenditures that are not under the Town of Penfield’s control continue to see increases. In 2019, we budgeted an 8.5 percent increase in health insurance premiums and continued contributions to the New York State retirement system of approximately 15 to 20 percent of payroll. The cost of workers compensation will remain flat at nearly six percent of payroll.
With this proposed budget, we continue our long-standing financial discipline of a forecasting a five-year outlook as we mange debt, expenses, revenue, and special districts.
In summary, we lowered our expected debt exposure, took in more revenue than projected, and used reserve funds to develop the 2019 budget with a 9 cent rate increase versus the anticipated 10 to 12 cent increase. This Preliminary Budget delivers the same level of services, finances the Shadow Pines purchase and maintenance, updates DPW equipment, and adds a new playground at Harris Whalen Park. Once again, the town tax levy increase is below the increase allowed by the New York State tax cap.
I thank Town Comptroller Barbara Chirdo, town staff, and the town board for their commitment and professionalism preparing the 2019 Preliminary Town Budget.
The public comment period for the 2019 Budget runs September 12 through October 11. A public hearing to receive comments on the Preliminary Budget will be held at the October 3 Penfield Town Board meeting at 7:00 PM in the town hall auditorium.
The 2019 Preliminary Town Budget is available for review on the town website, the town clerk’s office, and the Penfield Public Library. Additionally, if you would like to speak with the Town Comptroller regarding the 2019 budget, please call 340-8621 or call my office at 340-8630.