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Hidy’s budget for calls 9.7 percent levy increase

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MASSENA — The draft budget presented by Mayor James F. Hidy to village trustees includes a 9.7 percent tax levy increase.

Mr. Hidy said that because of health insurance and workers’ compensation increases, the tax hike was unavoidable.

“Of that 9.7 percent, there were $108,170 and $90,562 that were directly attributed to health insurance and workers’ compensation, respectively,” he said. “Those two figures alone equated to 4 percent of the increase.”

Mr. Hidy said when he and Treasurer Julie Sharlow began working on the budget, they initially were faced with an 18 percent tax levy increase.

“There was virtually no fluff. It was pretty much everything we needed without cutting services to the public,” Mr. Hidy said.

“But Village Treasurer Ms. Sharlow and I were able to, after going through the budget line by line, scale it back to 9.7 percent.”

For taxpayers in West Massena, which is in the town of Louisville, the proposed levy increase would translate to a tax rate increase of 5.99 percent, or 91 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. For residents in the town of Massena, that increase would be a slightly higher: 8.22 percent or $1.19 per $1,000 of assessed value.

With the increases, village residents in the town of Massena would see their tax rate increase from $14.48 per $1,000 of assessed property value to $15.67.

A village resident with property assessed at $100,000 would see his or her village tax bill jump by $119, from $1,448 in 2013 to $1,567, if the tax rate hike mirrors the tax levy increase.

Residents in the town of Louisville will see their rate increase from $15.24 per $1,000 of assessed property value to $16.15.

“The insurances are basically killing us,” Mr. Hidy said. “It’s not just happening here; it’s happening in municipalities all across the state and country. Health care costs are just overwhelming.”

Mr. Hidy said despite the proposed tax increase he was able to limit general fund expenditures to $9,127,404, an increase of $220,508 or 2.5 percent.

The mayor also said the tax rate would increase even more if it wasn’t for a 1.5 percent increase in the village’s assessment.

Mr. Hidy said the village’s assessment rose by $5,640,000 to $362,853,851.

“Aside from increases attributed to insurances, I’m extremely satisfied to continue providing the services our residents are accustomed to,” he said, adding there are no layoffs included in his plan.

Mr. Hidy’s budget proposal would keep salaries the same for both him and the trustees, with the mayor earning $17,000 per year and trustees each earning $6,000 per year.

The village’s total budget, which also includes $1,315,438 for waste and refuse disposal, $1,863,341 for water, $2,003,771 for sewer, $1,051,502 for debt service, $55,000 for capital expenditures and $55,321 for the community center, totals $15,471,477.

A public hearing on the budget will be held at 5:30 p.m. April 1 before the village’s regular board meeting.

The board then will begin its review of the mayor’s proposed spending plan.

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