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Taxes to double under proposed Somerset budget

BARKER -- The Somerset Town Board is proposing a 2018 budget that more than doubles its tax rate and has moved a public hearing on the spending plan to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 8 in the Barker High School auditorium, 1628 Quaker Road.

The proposed $3 million town budget calls for a tax rate increase of 88 cents to $1.68 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, up from 80 cents.

Town Supervisor Daniel Engert attributed the hike to a reduction in monies the town will receive from a property tax abatement agreement with Somerset Operating Co., formerly AES Somerset Corp., which runs a coal-burning power plant. The agreement calls for a payment of $139,000 to the town for 2018, an 89 percent drop. The payment was $1.3 million in 2008.

Engert said the town has implemented cost-saving measures to mitigate this loss, including a 40 percent reduction in the town workforce in recent years.

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