Red Hook, Rhinebeck and Milan now have tentative budgets for the coming year, and at first glance, tax increases appear likely.
In an economic climate that has not changed much from previous years, towns this year are challenged by an even-lower state-mandated property tax cap than last year. This year’s cap is 1.66 percent, down from 2 percent. The tax cap is intended to limit how much tax levy increase can occur from one year to the next, but town boards can override the limit with a majority vote.
Town of Red Hook Supervisor Sue Crane submitted a budget of $4,227,251 for 2014, with $2,710,923 to be raised by taxes, an increase of $153,461, or 6 percent, over the 2013 budget.
In Milan, Supervisor Bill Gallagher’s tentative 2014 budget is $2,363,180, with $1,396,258 to be raised by taxes. That’s an increase of $30,855, or 2.3 percent, over last year.
And in Rhinebeck, Supervisor Tom Traudt’s tentative 2014 budget is $3,982,664, a decrease of $23,162 in total appropriations from 2013. Revenues are projected to be $1,289,794, an increase of $53,008 over last year, leaving $2,692,870 to be raised by taxes or other sources, such as the fund balance. Further information was not available.
The tentative budget is only the first word in the debate on what each town’s budget will look like for 2014. Town boards will now review these drafts and make changes over a series of budget workshops in October before agreeing on preliminary budgets by early November. A public hearing must be held and then the boards will wrestle with any final changes before adopting their budgets before the end of November, as required by law.