BUSTI - The tentative 2013 Busti budget process has started with a 12 percent tax increase.
On Monday, the Busti Town Board was presented the preliminary budget or first draft of the spending plan. Jesse Robbins, Busti supervisor, said between now and the public hearing on the budget scheduled for Monday, Nov. 19, the board will work to lower the possible tax increase.
Robbins said, unfortunately, there will be a tax increase by the time the board passes the spending plan. That is why the board passed a local law to override the 2 percent tax levy cap.
Robbins said the tax increase is because of higher costs for retirement funding and workmen's compensation. The workmen's compensation charge is $64,000 for the town in 2013. This is a charge that was not part of the town's budget last year, but was included in the county's budget.
This year the county will be billing the town rather than doing a chargeback. The county eliminated chargebacks of workmen's compensation after a state audit showed $69,000 in tax cap overrides. Because chargebacks were not included as part of its tax levy calculations, the county went over its limit. As a result, towns now will be billed directly from the county, as is the current practice for villages and cities. In turn, towns will increase their tax levy to make up the difference.
Robbins said workman's compensation went up more than $10,000 from last year, as well. The additional workman's compensation and state retirement charges increased the town's total employee benefits by $77,713.
Another large increase in the budget is an additional $62,500 for equipment under the parks budget. Robbins said town officials are looking into purchasing a new truck. However, he said this is the tentative budget, with many changes - including possibly not purchasing the new truck - could be made by the time it is passed.
''This is just a preliminary budget. This is tentative, so nothing is for sure,'' he said. ''We will be trying to save money anyway we can. We're going to take as much out of it as possible to help the taxpayers and keep the town running like it should be run.''
The tentative budget has a $118,572 tax levy increase. The tax levy is the amount of money raised through property taxes. The total proposed tax levy is $962,195. The total budget has increased $106,648 or 4 percent. The total budget for the town is $2,781771.
The 2012 budget had a tax levy decrease of 3 percent, it totaled $843,623. The total budget was $2,675,123.
Robbins said the board will continue to discuss the budget during its next meeting on Monday, Oct. 15.
In other business, the board joined other municipalities in passing a resolution to support the sale of the county home
''The board feels the county has enough issues without being in the retirement home business,'' he said. ''I feel they should sell it and the rest of the board felt that way too.''