City budget approved; taxes drop
GLOVERSVILLE – The Common Council on Tuesday approved the 2014 city budget, which calls for a nearly 2 percent tax-levy decrease, two new city jobs and raises for some city employees and elected officials.
The $15.8 million budget, which is up $400,000 from this year’s plan, calls for the hiring of a new deputy building inspector and a police officer.
Mayor Dayton King said the budget includes no layoffs or reductions in services and a 1.84 percent tax-levy decrease. The budget will lower the city tax rate from $21.71 per $1,000 of assessed value to $21.31, according to a budget resolution.
“This is the first time in my term to have a budget with a tax decrease,” King said. “I don’t know that there are going to be any pleasant surprises going forward. Unless we have drastic cuts in our expenses or a lot of economic upturn, I don’t see [tax decreases] really continuing.”
He said over the next two years, he expects the city to use $600,000 to $800,000 of the city fund balance.
The city will use $794,817 of the city’s fund balance next year.
The 2013 budget, which totaled $15.4 million, used $543,324 from the city’s fund balance.
King said the fund balance is expected to be approximately $3.6 million by the end of this year.
The budget includes the hiring of a police officer.
Capt. John Sira said the entry-level officer will have a starting annual salary of $37,544.
Deputy Commissioner of Finance Theresa Butkevitch said the new deputy building inspector is budgeted to make $35,925 in the 2014 budget.
Councilman Arthur Simonds said the deputy building inspector will learn from Building Inspector Robert Robbins, who is expected to retire soon.
He said the deputy will help Robbins with daily tasks and inspections. If Robbins retires and the deputy takes on Robbins’ role, Simonds said he is unsure if the deputy position would remain in the city budget.
“We just wanted to make sure we have someone that has the expertise before [Robbins] leaves,” Simonds said. “I’m not sure about what will happen after that.”
The 2014 budget includes contributions of $3,500 to the Fulton County Office for Aging and $8,500 to the city senior center.
King said the budget reflects added expenses such as the workers’ compensation insurance cost shifting from Fulton County to Gloversville and contractual costs within city departments.
The cost to Gloversville for the workers’ comp insurance will be $175,527 in 2014.
The budget calls for increased salaries of several people, including some department heads, the mayor and council members.
Each member of the council will receive a $1,000 raise, bringing the yearly salaries to $3,500. The councilman-at-large will receive a raise of $1,250, bringing the total annual pay for that position to $4,375.
The mayor will receive a raise of 3 percent, which equates to about $1,195, bringing his yearly salary to $41,034.
Other raises include the police chief, $2,655; deputy finance commissioner, $4,000; Department of Public Works director, $1,650; city clerk, $640; and deputy city clerk, $560.
The raises for 2014 total $18,860.
The mayor and members of the council said the city is in a position where taxes can be reduced. They also said it is time to give city officials a raise because of the time they spend taking care of city business.
Officials said the pay of the mayor and council are still under what others in similar positions are paid across the state.
Officials said department heads have not received raises in years.
King said retail businesses in the city will increase sales-tax revenue and property-tax revenue for the city.
Walmart this year opened a new store in the city. City officials say they expect $600,000 to $800,000 per year in additional sales-tax revenue from the store.
In addition, a new Burger King plans to open off South Kingsboro Avenue in Gloversville, bringing in an estimated $20,000 to $25,000 in new sales-tax revenue, city officials said.
The council unanimously passed several resolutions related to the budget at the end of the meeting.
A public hearing on the budget previously was held, and no one from the public spoke at it.
Here are some details in the 2014 city budget:
Taxes: 1.84 percent tax-levy decrease. The tax rate will go from $21.71 per $1,000 of assessed value to $21.31.
Use of fund balance: $794,817.
Council members – $1,000 raise, bringing their yearly salaries to $3,500.
Councilman-at-large – $1,250 raise, bringing the salary to $4,375.
Mayor Dayton King – $1,195 raise, bringing his yearly salary to $41,034.
Police Chief Donald VanDeusen – $2,655 raise, bringing salary to $91,155.
Deputy Finance Commissioner Theresa Butkevitch – $4,000 raise, bringing salary to $42,500.
Department of Public Works Director Kevin Jones – $1,650, bringing salary to $67,650.
Assessor Joni Dennie – $910, bringing salary to $46,420.
City Clerk Susan Semione – $640, bringing salary to $32,640.
Deputy City Clerk Cindy Ostrander – $560, bringing salary to $28,560.