Niskayuna board approves town budget

The Niskayuna Town Board approved two plans Thursday night — one spanning a year and the other a decade.

The one-year plan was the 2015 town budget, while the 10-year plan is the town’s new comprehensive plan for development.

The board approved the 2015 budget by a vote of 4-0, with one member, Liz Orzel Kasper, absent. The spending plan totals $14.2 million, $25,000 more than the 2014 budget.

The budget sets the homeowners’ tax rate at $2.55 per $1,000 of assessed value. Businesses will see a rate of $5.11 per $1,000. The budget again stayed under the state tax cap.

The only change to the budget Thursday night was the addition of a full-time position in the Parks Department. That post takes the place of a seasonal employee.

Board member Julie McDonnell proposed the amendment, arguing the Parks Department has been short-staffed for some time. The entry-level position will also help the department keep up with needed work.

The comprehensive plan was approved after more than two years of work. It offers a guide to development in the town over the next 10 years. Despite it being nearly 2015, the plans dated 2013.

Board members, including Denise Murphy McGraw, cited the committee’s extensive work in approving the plan.

“It’s an outstanding document,” McGraw said.

Among the recommendations in the plan are to alleviate traffic near the Rexford Bridge; increase pedestrian and cyclist safety as more residents use those modes of transportation for more than recreation; consider zoning changes to prevent the town from being flooded with additional retail space; and instituting a historical marker program for significant landmarks.

The plan also calls for an architectural review board to protect treasured buildings and a rewrite of a town zoning code that dates back to 1972.

“This was a long process, and we are now, I guess, set for another 10 years,” town Supervisor Joe Landry said, “and we’ll pick this up 10 years from now.”