Town of Boston residents are facing a slight decrease in taxes as Supervisor Martin Ballowe unveiled his proposed $4.9 million spending plan for 2014 during Wednesday’s meeting of the Town Board.
According to Ballowe, the tentative budget calls for a decrease in the tax rate in both the general and highway funds. The proposed budget calls for $1.7 million in the general fund and just under $1.3 million in the highway fund.
The supervisor noted that “established reserves” have played a major role in creating this budget.
Ballowe, who is in the fourth year of his term, said this is the fourth consecutive year residents could see a tax decrease.
Although Ballowe said the proposed decrease is minuscule, Boston residents should be happy knowing it is likely that they will not have a tax hike once again this year.
Other factors that contribute to the plan include long-term loans at low interest rates that he said are saving the town money.
One area that is set to see an increase is in the supervisor’s salary, which is due to rise from $22,640 to $28,300.
“Not far from what I campaigned on,” Ballowe said, noting that in previous years he took a 20 percent pay cut but increased the salary this year. His reason is because it is an election year, and he wants to see the numbers returned to the same level as to when he started because if Ballowe loses to his opponent, Democratic candidate Gary Vara, he does not believe it is fair to penalize him for the supervisor’s personal promise to reduce his salary. Vara is currently a town councilman, and Ballowe will seek his second term as town supervisor in the November general election.
“It’s a home run for the residents,” Ballowe said, adding that the board will meet to go over the budget and look for ways to potentially make more cuts.
Under the proposed plan, the four board seats would remain at their current annual salary of $7,770. Town Clerk Jen Mule is scheduled to see a slight increase in salary from $43,515 to $44,820, and Highway Superintendent Robert Telaak’s salary would increase from $54,545 to $56,181.
Ballowe added that having stable budgets has allowed the town to fix drainage problems and refurbish the Lions Club shelter, and the Highway Department was able to purchase a backhoe.
“The budget process is tremendous,” Councilman Jay Boardway said.
Those who want to take a look at the proposed plan will be able to view it at the town’s website, www.townofboston.com, Boardway said.
The Town Board scheduled a public hearing on the proposed budget for 7:40 p.m. Oct. 16. The final budget must be adopted by Nov. 20.