Cost for highway garage may lift tax rate in Perth

PERTH – With the new Highway Garage expected to be open by the end of the month, the Town Board will have to consider how to pay for the project.

The Town Board unanimously approved bids in June for several companies to construct a highway building, to replace the current garage.

Officials said the current garage is too small and old for continued use as the only garage.

According to Highway Superintendent David Dopp, the new garage on Midline Road is expected to be completed by the end of this month.

Dopp said the added space for vehicles would save money on maintenance costs, due to the wear and tear vehicles received from previously being parked outside.

Voters in 2011 approved bonding the project up to $600,000. The town bonded the cost of the garage, according to Supervisor Gregory Fagan, with a cost of $383,000 for construction and $7,000 in interest.

At the Town?Board meeting?Thursday, Fagan said the town could pay off the garage over one year, five years, or 10 years, each with a different tax rate.

For 2013, Fagan said the tax rate is $3.42 per $1,000 of assessed property value. For 2014, the tax rate planned – without the cost for the town garage – is $3.34 per $1,000 of assessed value.

If the bond for the garage was paid off in one year, the 2014 tax rate would show a $3.25 increase, amounting to $6.57 per $1,000.

If the cost was spread out over five years, the 2014 tax rate would be $4.14.

Paying for the project over 10 years would give the town an estimated tax rate of $3.82 for 2014.

Some members of the public at the meeting expressed their concerns about paying for the project.

Victor Mosetti, of Black Street, said he couldn’t see why the garage was needed so quickly.

“I understand they need a new barn, a new garage, but the point is, do you need it now?” Mosetti asked. “Can’t you wait a few years for the economy to catch up?”

Mosetti said the board could have saved money to build the new garage over several years, rather than building it on a bond.

Fagan noted voters approved the use of a bond for the garage in 2011.

During the meeting, the tentative town budget for 2014 was introduced to the public.

The 2013 budget is about $1.24 million. Without the cost of the garage included, the appropriations for the proposed 2014 budget also are at roughly $1.24 million.

According to information from the town, 2014 could see an appropriations increase of roughly $390,000, depending on which payment option the town chooses to cover the cost of the new highway garage.

Fagan noted the board still expects to alter the budget over multiple workshops.

“We are at the very beginning of the [budget] process,” Fagan said.

The final budget needs to be adopted by Nov. 20, according to Fagan. The board has until then to hold budget workshops to modify and change anything inside the tentative budget.

“We will have as many [workshops] as we need,” Fagan said.

A budget workshop is scheduled for Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall.

A public hearing for the 2014 budget is set for Nov. 7 at 7:10 p.m.