City adopts budget

JOHNSTOWN – The Common Council adopted an $11.7 million 2014 city budget with a 2.8 percent property tax-rate increase Monday.

Total appropriations in next year’s city budget are up by 6.1 percent, from about $11 million in 2013 to $11.7 million in 2014.

Action on the budget followed last-minute amendments that involved a few of the departments.

“These are things we probably ought to do,” said 2nd Ward Councilman Chris Foss.

He said the minor changes involved additions of $4,800 and $75,000 to the services accounts for the treasurer’s and assessor’s offices, respectively, as well as a $2,000 line item for the city’s Tourism-Special Events Committee. He said the council discussed the changes with Treasurer Michael Gifford before the meeting.

Foss said the changes had no effect on the property tax rate previously set in the tentative budget.

The tax rate per $1,000 of assessed property value goes from $17.49 in 2013 to $17.98 for 2014.

The tax increase will stay under the city’s property-tax cap, set by the state. The tax bill for a city home assessed at $50,000 will increase by $24.55, and the bill for a home assessed at $100,000 will increase by $49.10.

“I think it’s a pretty decent budget,” Foss said.

The 2014 budget includes these appropriations in key departments: city attorney – $148,000; Department of Public Works – $2.3 million; city Fire Department – $1.6 million; city Police Department -$1.8 million; city treasurer – $208,300; and mayor – $19,800.

City officials released a rate history for the city for the past 10 years showing the rate has increased by 70 cents per $1,000 since 2004.

Cost increases in the tentative city budget include pensions, up $37,000; health insurance, up $88,000; and workers’ compensation insurance, up $112,000.

Another cost increase came from the debt service for the new bridge on North Perry Street. According to the budget summary, this project increased the budget by $248,700.

Other costs, mostly for payroll, are up $182,400, according to the summary.

Total property tax and other revenues totaled about $11 million. The city will use $698,000 from the fund balance in 2014.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at

Budget facts

The 2014 city of Johnstown budget includes:

Appropriations: $11.7 million – up 6.1 percent.

Tax rate: $17.98 per $1,000 of assessed valuation – up 2.8 percent.