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Budget plan would hike taxes, help fund library

Alden residents may see their taxes increase by nearly 5 percent if the Town Board approves the projected general fund budget for 2006, and the reason is the new funding plan for the local library.

With several county libraries slated to be closed due to budget concerns, Alden officials are working to help partially fund the Alden Town Library next year. The library would be funded through the county, the controlling library board and the Town of Alden, which is projected to contribute between $30,000 and $40,000 a year.

Town Supervisor Richard Savage said that the community has been supportive of attempts to keep the library open.

"The vast majority [of the tax increase] is due to the library costs, but nobody is complaining about it," Savage said. "I've not had one complaint from anybody. The feedback I've received is, 'Don't worry about it, save the library.' "

In addition to the library funds, town employees would receive a 2.5 percent salary increase. Those two items account for the majority of the $72,000 year-to-year budget increase in the proposed $1.36 spending plan for 2006. The proposed budget would raise town property taxes 4.8 percent.

Savage and the Town Board are still working out the preliminary figures of the budget, which is a three-month process. The board needs to approve a budget by mid-November, but Savage said he plans on voting on the matter Nov. 7, the night before Election Day. The public hearing is scheduled to be the same day.

Savage said he's not expecting much public dissent during the hearing, but the date is early enough that it would allow the Town Board more time to work on the budget.

Many of the town's other taxable budgets experienced slight changes, although final figures were not available Monday. Savage expects the highway tax to slightly increase, the garbage collection rate to sharply decrease by 11.3 percent and most of the water and sewer rates to remain about the same.

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