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Proposed Massena village budget raises levy by 7 percent

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MASSENA — Mayor James F. Hidy said his goal when preparing the 2013-14 budget was to “maintain the services that our village residents have come to expect with the smallest possible impact on taxes.”

The tentative budget prepared by Mr. Hidy includes projected expenditures of $8.9 million, an increase of $256,000, or 2.9 percent. The tax levy under his plan is set to rise by $347,535 to $5,330,788, a 7 percent increase over this year’s total of $4,983,253.

Mr. Hidy is on vacation this week, and was not available to comment on his tentative budget.

The tax rate for village property owners in the town of Massena would increase from $14.08 per $1,000 of assessed valuation to $15, a 6.5 percent increase. That means a Massena property assessed at $100,000 would have a tax bill $92 higher than last year.

Property owners in the town of Louisville would face a 3.87 percent increase from a year ago.

The village’s assessed value will also rise in the next fiscal year from $353,864,424 to $355,313,377, an almost $1.5 million increase.

Almost $200,000 of the increased spending will go toward employee benefits, including retirement and health insurance.

The village’s retirement costs for former Fire and Police Department employees will rise from $518,754 to $616,030, an almost 19 percent increase. Payments to village employees’ health insurance policies will increase from $1,528,202 to $1,586,568, an increase of almost $60,000 from 2012-13.

The village is saving in other areas from retirements. Funding for police officers will drop from $1,817,538 to $1,772,756, a decrease of 2.5 percent, because of the retirement of several officers and the appointment of several younger officers at lower salaries.

The village will also see a dropoff of almost $30,000 in its funding for the code enforcement office, from $62,789 to $33,306, because of the Jan. 22 resignation of former code enforcement officer Gregory C. Fregoe. Massena Volunteer Fire Department members now carry out code enforcement duties.

Mr. Hidy is proposing to use $572,937 of available fund balance and reserves to help offset expenses.

The village board will hold a series of budget workshops in April and plans to pass a 2013-14 spending plan by the end of the month.

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