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Busti Supervisor: The Truth Matters

To The Reader’s Forum:

Busti residents recently received a mailing from my opponent for town supervisor stating that town taxes have increased during my time as Busti town supervisor.

The numbers used in the mailing are misleading because they include taxes necessary for special districts for lighting, fire district needs and services related to sewer and water in the town. The reason those special district taxes are separated from the total townwide budget is because not everyone in the town pays for all of the 19 special taxing districts. Some residents may pay into one or two of the districts while others may, at worst, fall into four of the special districts. It is unfair to use the special districts as a comparison between the supervisor that came before me and myself because the taxes necessary to pay for the special districts is set by the bonds and bond-anticipation notes used to pay for those areas. They are not under the direct control of the town board.

If you remove the special district funding from the budget, one can see that the tax levy in my first budget in 2013 increased the tax levy from $962,195 to $1,193,318, or an increase of 2.4% over six budgets. Perhaps more importantly to homeowners, the impact of those tax levy increases hasn’t been felt much by taxpayers because the town’s taxable assessment has gone up. That means the tax rate has increased only 4 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation in my tenure. I would argue that money hasn’t been wasted. We’ve used that 3.5% a year to pay costs for wages, health insurance, worker’s compensation and retirement as well as things gasoline, tires and electricity that have increased over time just as they have in your home. The town has excellent employees who have earned raises that I and the board feel the town can afford. The town also used your money to purchase a new building for the town offices that is cheaper to operate than our former building.

If you have any questions, concerns or comments, feel free to call my at 664-2060 anytime. If I’m not there, leave a message and I will be glad to call you back.

Jesse Robbins

Busti

Busti town supervisor

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