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Tax rate remains unchanged in Hartland proposal

GASPORT – The Hartland Town Board will hold a public hearing on its proposed $3.3 million budget at 7 p.m. Thursday in Hartland Town Hall, 8942 Ridge Road.

The proposed $3,383,905 budget holds the line on taxes, with a proposed tax rate of $2.48 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. Likewise, all other taxes remain the same as the current year, including a proposed rate of $1.22 per $1,000 of assessed valuation for fire protection; $2.30 per $1,000 for the water district; and $182 per household for refuse collection.

Supervisor W. Ross Annable said that the proposed taxes mean that a homeowner with a property assessed at $100,000 would pay $782 in total town taxes in 2016.

Annable said the overall budget rose less than $3,000 compared to the current year.

Addressing the slight increase, Annable said, “We were able to use some fund balance and we always estimate conservatively on our use of sales tax revenue, so we always have a little more than we budget for and that gives us a cushion.”

He said the 2016 proposed budget is the final one in a four-year plan he developed in 2012, which called for “tightening our belts and designing contracts with zero increases for our fire companies and employees this year.”

He added, “Retirement costs were down a little this year, too, and that helped the equation.”

Annable said, “I don’t know how long we’ll be able to do this and the state doesn’t make it any easier with the two percent tax cap. Now we’re looking at the next four years and we can’t tell where we’ll be, but we’re in a good position because we have no debt and a fair fund balance for a small town.”