LAKE GEORGE — The village tax rate would stay the same for the third consecutive year under the preliminary 2018-2019 budget proposed by Mayor Robert Blais.
The rate would remain a $6.01 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. The village’s expenses have decreased by $112,455, to $5,039,604.
Major expenses in the budget include an increase of health insurance costs from $398,000 to $462,000, according to a news release. Retirement benefits are increasing by $23,000, to $143,000.
The Village Board’s goal was to hold the tax rate flat. The tax levy is under the state’s tax cap.
Blais said he was able to hold the tax rate steady because of the increase in total assessed property value of the village by $4 million — largely because of the new Courtyard by Marriott hotel and the expansion of the Surfside on the Lake hotel.
Because of the timing of the village’s budget, the full impact of those projects did not hit last year.
That is the largest single increase in assessment in the last 15 years and helps the village’s coffers, according to Blais.
“That’s $240,000 that you’ve got that you didn’t have the year before,” he said, referring to the additional tax revenue.
Blais is also proposing to tap $475,000 from fund balance, which will still leave the village with over $2 million in reserves.
“We need to start to spend that down if it gets too high. You don’t want to be making a profit on the taxpayers,” he said.
Other major sources of revenue in the budget include $769,000 from parking meters, $560,000 from sales tax, $180,000 from occupancy tax and $48,000 through renting out property.
Village employees are set to receive a 50 cent-per-hour flat raise. An increase in elected officials’ salaries is not included, according to Blais.
The budget includes one new employee in the village’s beautification department. Blais said the village anticipates taking over the landscaping for the town’s new “gateway” entrance on Route 9 as part of a shared services arrangement.
The village has certified gardeners that take care of the flowers and shrubs. Village officials are still working on the details of what the town would do in exchange.
“If we both save money on it, we would be able to do it,” Blais said.
The village already receives money from the town through other shared services agreements, including $308,000 for managing the Caldwell Sewer District and $261,133 for providing fire protection services.
Also included in the budget is funding to add more antique lampposts, purchase two pickup trucks, construct a new salt shed, renovate the public restrooms at Shepard’s Park and install a new computer server for the village office.
The Village Board will hold workshops on the budget, which must be adopted by May 1 for the fiscal year beginning June 1.