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Hammond passes $1 million budget for 2014

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HAMMOND – Hammond unanimously passed its 2014 budget Wednesday which included a spending plan of $1,073,512.

After a public hearing Wednesday, town council members approved a budget which included a 1.7 percent or $3,551 increase in the tax levy. The levy will increase from $201, 287 to $204,838 next year.

The town council voted to override the state’s 1.6 percent tax cap earlier this year.

Council members attributed expense increases to increases in the fire department budget. Fire services are contracted from the village for about $94,863 next year, an increase of $3,033 from this year.

Increases are because of new Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements, council members said.

“I’ve sat in on some of the meetings and I felt that everything was justified,” Council member Douglas E. Delosh said Tuesday. “I have no problem whatsoever. Everything was justified.”

“I think it is smart that the village is looking ahead and putting money away to keep up with the mandates,” Town Supervisor Ronald W. Bertram said. “In eight years the tanks will be obsolete. They are putting three thousand a year away in a capital fund. They will have about $24,000, so the tanks are about $1,000 each.”

It raises the town tax levy 1 cent per thousand of assessed value. The tax rate this year is 94 cents per $1,000 assessed property value.

As a last minute change, Mr. Bertram proposed increasing the salary of the town historian from $2,000 to $2,500. The budget of the historian was also increased from $750 to $800. Money was re-appropriated from the attorney’s expense fund.

The town council agreed with the move.

“She works very hard, and it is well-deserved,” Council member James Tague said.

The town council will meet on Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. in the Hammond Free Library for its regularly scheduled monthly meeting.

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