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LeRay won’t raise residential property taxes in 2014

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LeRay residents won’t see an increase in property taxes next year, according to the town’s 2014 budget set for approval Nov. 7.

An increase in the assessed valuation of the town helped it avoid increasing its tax rate, which will remain at $1.56 per $1,000 of assessed value when the new budget takes effect in January. The town’s tax levy of $719,988 will be 2 percent greater than this year’s $706,978, because of an increase in total expenditures.

The town’s overall spending plan is $5,616,368, up 3.2 percent, or $174,368, from this year’s $5,442,000.

Retirement costs dropped this year because two former town employees retired and left the state system: Administrative Clerk Steven T. Harter and town Justice George E. Mead III. Their replacements are not enrolled.

Retirement rates also will decrease slightly in 2014, which also will benefit the town. Its overall retirement cost for 22 employees is expected to fall from this year by 15 percent, or $25,224, from $165,224 to $140,000.

The town’s health care plan, which includes 20 enrolled employees, is set to increase by 7 percent, or $16,900, from $245,600 this year to $262,500.

Sales tax revenue has been a consistent source of income for the town. Of the $1.2 million received this year, the town plans to carry over $50,000 not spent into 2014. It also projects it will receive $1.2 million in revenue next year.

The town is using excess sales tax it has collected in recent years to purchase a new snowplow and accessory equipment for $210,500, which will be used by the Highway Department. This year, the department spent $90,000 to buy a backhoe and roadside mower.

Notable projects in LeRay include the construction of Taylor Road, a mile-long connector from the intersection at Walmart off Route 11 to Eagle Ridge Village. The road, which already has been paved, is expected to be opened to traffic in early November. Construction of Sewer District 4, in the hamlet of Calcium and the Five Corners Road area, will start in the spring.

“Financially, the town is in a good position,” said Mark A. Capone, administrative clerk to the supervisor. “We have a lot going on in the town in terms of this sewer district, new road and new development projects in the area coming to the Planning Board. And we look to maintain a similar tax rate here moving forward.”

Along with leading to future commercial and housing projects, Taylor Road will alleviate traffic congestion for the roughly 700 families at Eagle Ridge Village by providing another route to exit the site, Supervisor Ronald C. Taylor said. The town paid its share of the project by using money it acquired about seven years ago from the RCI Housing project at Fort Drum.

“This will be a back-door entrance for families there and allow them a faster way to get onto Route 11 and visit Walmart and other stores,” Mr. Taylor said.

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