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Clayton town levy to go up by 1%

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CLAYTON — The town tax levy will increase by 1.2 percent next year.

The levy, or amount the town will raise through property taxes, will be $941,416, a $9,830 increase over 2012.

Clayton’s tax rate will remain at $1.37 per $1,000 of assessed value, however, partly because of a $6.9 million overall assessment increase. The town also expects to receive additional sales tax revenue from Jefferson County.

Supervisor Justin A. Taylor said town employees, who accepted a pay freeze in 2012, will get 3 percent raises next year.

Town councilmen, who declined raises since 2007 and took a 5 percent pay cut in 2012, will keep their compensation at $3,040 each next year.

The town approved a tax-cap override but remained under the state’s 2 percent limit. Mr. Taylor said the town is $20,196 below the projected cap for Clayton.

Clayton’s general operating budget — the town’s total spending excluding special districts that are self-funded by users — increased by $50,908, or 1.3 percent, to $4,094,494 from 2012. This is due partly to 15 percent increases in health insurance costs and a 7.6 percent hike in retirement costs, Mr. Taylor said.

The highway budget is going down — to $1,557,728 from $1,710,174, a roughly 9 percent decrease — because the town will leave a few positions vacant and curtail major equipment purchases next year.

Clayton is applying $684,603 from its unappropriated fund balance in 2013 to partially offset the levy. Mr. Taylor said this is $224,443 less than the $909,046 the town took out of its fund balance in 2012.

Over the next several years, Clayton hopes to build up its reserves — to a minimum of 15 percent of its budgets — so that it can prepare for the “unknown variables in the economy, assessments, revenues, expenditure, environmental and natural events,” he said.

The town budgeted $2,289,749 for the former Frink site redevelopment — namely the construction of a new transient dock facility, which is planned to break ground in 2013 — but these funds will be reimbursed through grants and the pending sale of the 8.4-acre property.

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