MOHAWK — The German Flatts Town Board has adopted a $2.37 million budget for 2019 that carries a 4.25 percent tax increase as the board works to respond to a report from the state Comptroller’s Office that found the town in "significant fiscal stress."
The plan, which was adopted Oct. 30, includes a $1,220,507 general fund budget, $157,965 for general outside the village, $444,459 for town wide highway and $551,365 for part-town highway.
The budget will be supported by a total tax levy of $1,378,212, including $825,855 for the general fund, $63,348 for general outside the village, $344,259 for town wide highway and $144,750 for part-town highway.
The board passed a local law to allow the town to exceed the state’s tax cap, according to Town Supervisor Peter Rovazzi.
The town board voted to make some cuts from the tentative budget, Rovazzi said, including reducing the $2,500 he had initially proposed for MOVAC to $1,000 and cutting back on funding for Weller Library. The library was budgeted at $30,200 for the current year and was reduced to $24,700 for 2019.
Rovazzi said he had not been in favor of the cuts, but it was a board decision. He noted he had included funding for MOVAC in response to a request for support from the local ambulance service.
He cited rising legal fees as having the biggest impact on the budget and said the budget adopted last year included no provision for these.
The town has been involved in a legal dispute for several years with the owners of the Creekside Mobile Home Park that when William and Virginia Jaquish began to repair the damage caused by the June 2013 flood without the necessary permits.
The New York State Comptroller’s Office listed the Town of German Flatts as being in "significant fiscal stress" in a report that came out earlier this fall. Rovazzi said at the time that the listing was due to the lack of a sufficient fund balance and that he and the board would be working to develop a fiscally responsible budget for the town.
Improving the town’s fiscal situation in this regard cannot be remedied in one budget; it will likely take several years, he said during an interview at Friday at the town office.
Rovazzi was elected as supervisor last year and took office in January. The comptroller’s assessment is based on financial information from 2017.
The comptroller’s office has listed the town as being in some form of fiscal stress the past few years. Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s monitoring system evaluates local governments on nine financial indicators, including such items as fund balance, cash on hand and short-term borrowing, and creates a fiscal stress score.