By Kristin Schultz
The leaves aren’t yet off the trees, but it’s time for town officials to think about 2018. Supervisor Joe Landry recently released his tentative budget.
As it stands, the $15 million spending plan is an increase of nearly $11,000 over the 2017 budget and includes a 2 percent tax cut for residents.
A written statement from Landry’s office said: “The goal of this Town budget has been to be fiscally responsible while maintaining the services critical to protecting and improving the quality of life in our Town.”
To that end, there are additions to some budget lines and reductions to others. The town clerk’s budget, which ballooned from $107,253 in 2016 to $143,422 in 2017,l will return to a more modest $118,664 next year.
The police budget is up nearly $100,000 and community programs is scheduled to see a bump of $55,875 on the full time personal services line. The parks budget is slated to be at its lowest level in at least four years at $485,263. The senior recreation budget line will go from $174,796 to $105,500, a reduction of $69,296.
A little more than $3.2 million is allocated for employee benefits, including insurance and retirement payments.
In the statement that precedes the budget document, Landry emphasized the town’s strong bond rating, which allowed the town to refinance some of its bonds. The statement also touts savings stemming from the partnerships with the Unified Communications Center and other municipalities.
State grant monies have also allowed for the completion of town improvements, including solar permitting, a new fueling station and the construction of multi-use path connections at Zenner soccer fields and the soon-to-open Flower Hill path.
Copies of the proposed budget can be obtained online at the town’s website. Go to niskayuna.org, then to the comptroller department. Copies may also be obtained from the town clerk’s office. Over the next month, there will be a number of opportunities to participate in public workshops.
An Oct. 12 workshop was to cover a budget overview as well specifically addressings parks, community programs and seniors, town justices, receiver of taxes, town assessor, town clerk, town attorney, town comptroller, building, planning and zoning and miscellaneous topics.
On Tuesday, Oct. 24 at 4 p.m., another workshop will focus on information technology, public works, transportation and the police department.
On Thursday, Nov. 2, there will likely be a public hearing and then the board is scheduled to adopt the 2018 budget at its regular meeting on Thursday, Nov. 16.