In Busti, Good Ideas For Budget Abound

There are two distinct opinions regarding the town of Busti’s 2019 budget as proposed by Jesse Robbins, town supervisor.

Robbins and three Busti Town Board members, Todd Hanson, Kenneth Lawton and James Andrews, prefer a budget with a one cent decrease in the town’s tax rate for the upcoming year. Robbins, Hanson, Lawton and Andrews prefer the current budget, while Dr. Rudy Mueller, the fourth board member, wanted the board not to increase the contingency fund by $20,000 as is proposed, wanted to increase the town’s sales projection from the county by $10,000 and decrease budgeted spending for garbage and refuse to $76,000.

Mueller says his changes are easily achievable based on the town’s past budgets and existing level of surplus. And, Mueller’s logic is sound. Mueller sees school taxes increasing next year because funding for the Hazeltine and Lakewood libraries will be levied on school taxes rather than town and village taxes. Mueller figures it will cost residents 31 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation for the libraries, and Mueller wants to find a 31 cent tax decrease in the town’s budget so that residents aren’t paying any additional taxes between their town and school taxes. We wish more elected officials thought that way.

At the same time, we understand the idea behind cautious budgeting. Robbins, Lawton, Andrews and Hanson are in agreement on a budget that delivers a very slight tax decrease while allowing the town future financial flexibility to avoid future tax hikes.

Mueller lost out on the discussion at last week’s Busti Town Board meeting, but residents have the opportunity to give their thoughts at a public hearing on Monday, Oct. 15, starting at 7:15 p.m. We hope that Busti residents who feel strongly either way attend the meeting and make their voices heard — and that the board then follows the wishes of town residents.