Germantown plans no tax hike in 2013 budget

GERMANTOWN–Supervisor Roy Brown expects the tax rate in town to stay flat in 2013. The current, 2012 budget brought the tax rate down almost 11%.

In the first budget workshop, October 4, requests from all department heads were put into a budget that would have resulted in a 15.5% increase, or $85,642, over the 2012 budget. Then Mr. Brown, as budget officer, went to work. At Tuesday’s workshop, he presented a budget that would result in a .69% increase, or $370 over the 2012 budget, in a plan that calls for total appropriations of $1.2 million.

The 2013 budget proposal includes some reductions in expenses for departments, he said, but it also includes a 2.5% raise for full-time employees, along with continuing the current health insurance and retirement plans.

At Tuesday’s meeting, “we discussed putting some things back in and taking others out,” said Mr. Brown. Wednesday morning he had not yet “plugged in those figures, but off the top of my head, it was a pretty even exchange,” again resulting in an increase of less than 1%.

Mr. Brown expected town taxes to be no greater in 2013 than they were in 2012.

The next budget workshop is Tuesday, October 23, at 6 p.m. in Town Hall. Mr. Brown predicted the board would approve a budget at that time, to be submitted to a Public Hearing Tuesday, November 13, at 6 p.m. in Town Hall. If necessary, however, another budget workshop will take place October 30.

At the Town Board meeting Monday, October 15, the board:

•After a public hearing without public comment, approved an amendment in the dog control law that allows the town to charge dog owners for boarding, feeding and veterinary care of stray dogs picked up by the town

•Approved a motion to apply for funding from the Hudson River Foundation for a 25 x 50-foot pavilion in Lasher Park

•Heard reports from seven of this fall’s eight student interns, high school seniors in Robert Beaury’s Political Science course, a Columbia-Greene Community College course given at Germantown High School. Supervised by Town Board members, the interns are working on a variety of projects, which include redrafting current laws, such as the Defense of Marriage Act; lowering the state driver’s permit age from 16 to 14; and retaining but accelerating background checks for purchasers of firearms. One intern is amending the school handbook, another is trying to have all theories of life, not just evolution, studied in the district, and another wants to bring driver’s education to the high school

•Heard Councilman Joel Craig question the need for a cell phone policy: ”I don’t think we should issue cell phones to town employees,” and agreed to discuss the matter during the October 16 budget workshop

•Agreed to discuss the cost of treating “Lake George South” (the town lake on Palatine Park Road) for duckweed and maintaining the lake in the budget workshop

•Learned from Mr. Brown that the new playground on Palatine Park Road is “85% done” and very much in use. Everything is installed; all that remains is to address the grounds surrounding the playground. Cost of the playground was $68,000, said Mr. Brown, “all donated.” Since so many, led by Deputy Supervisor Austin Sullivan, supported the project with time and money, the playground will not be named for any one person; names are being sought and considered

•Learned from Bruce Bohnsack, chair of the Economic Development Committee, that the committee had put out a request out for bids for the construction of two kiosks that will be installed in the hamlet at locations to be determined. One side of each kiosk will display notices from the public, the other notices from the town

•Learned from Mr. Brown that the town is on schedule to break ground next spring on the sidewalk extensions in the hamlet, even though 60 days have passed and the state Department of Transportation has not responded to the latest sidewalk proposal

•Learned that on Thursday, November 1, the town will host a free “thank you” lunch for veterans from noon to 2 p.m. in the Kellner building on Palatine Park Road. Reservations are appreciated, to Town Clerk Charlene Diehl, 518 537-6687 ext. 302, but no veteran will be turned away. The town will also take part, with Clermont and Livingston, in a November 11 Veterans Day ceremony, at a time and place to be announced

•Learned from Donna Diehl that the town’s Thanksgiving Day Dinner, an annual even since1994, will be served from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, November 22, in the Kellner building. All are invited, for sit-down, take-out, or delivered meals. To reserve a meal or volunteer, call Mrs. Diehl at 518 537-6405.

•Confirmed the next town board meeting for Monday, November 19, at 7 p.m. in Town Hall.



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