By Cady Kuzmich
Clifton Park – The Clifton Park town board unanimously approved the $16.8 million 2017 budget for the town Monday, November 14, 2016.
The budget carries no general fund tax, while the town highway tax will rise slightly and the emergency services tax rate will fall. Spending in the $16.8 million budget is $100,884 less than the budget adopted in 2016, according to a press release from the town.
According to the town, “In recent weeks the NYS Comptroller’s Office released the results of the latest Fiscal Stress Monitoring System results. For fiscal year 2015, Clifton Park received a score of 0(zero), the lowest score possible.”
“The 2017 budget continues our commitment to ensure Clifton Park remains one of the lowest taxed municipalities in New York state within our peer group,” Barrett said in a statement when the budget was initially proposed.
He credited, in part, continuing development in the Northway Exit 9 area as well as diversification of the tax base for the town’s ability to keep taxes low.
The town’s highway spending under the new budget is $5,619,250, an increase of $100,308 from 2016. For a home assessed at $250,000, the 2017 highway tax will be $37, up $2.29 from 2016. The town expects to continue investing “heavily in infrastructure projects involving roadways, drainage and stormwater systems,” according to the release.
The budget also includes purchase of an unspecified number of vehicles.
In a press release, Barrett noted that the highway tax in Clifton Park was 87 cents per $1,000 of assessed value 16 years ago. The 2017 budget highway tax would be 25.5 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, up from 23.9 cents in 2016.
Barrett noted the budget does not take into account the potential savings from the recently installed solar field at the town’s capped landfill.
The budget includes money to cover salary increases for town employees covered by union contracts. Town employees who are members of two Civil Service Employee Association bargaining units will receive a 2.5 percent, with a 2 percent raise for management employees.
The EMS tax rate will decrease from 28.1 cents per $1,000 of assessed value to 26 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. A home appraised at $250,000 will see its EMS tax drop from $39.34 to $36.72 under the 2017 budget. The town attributes the decline in EMS tax rate to the growing tax base and the success of the medical industry in Clifton Park.
“The new Community Care Physicians building on Route 9 is the latest healthcare expansion, which has provided important medical services close to home for Clifton Park residents,” according to the town’s statement.