The Town of Porter Town Board took limited commentary at its special meeting Tuesday to consider the town’s preliminary $5.241 million budget for 2020.
By the numbers, the plan presented sees $1.196 million in appropriations in General Fund A, with $795,915 to be raised by taxes under a tax rate of $2.0183 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. Other spending allocations include $1,268 million under General Fund B; $1,657 under highway DA townwide; $980,935 for highway DB – outside village; $388,442 for the Water Department and $480,409 for the Sewer Department.
Special districts spending is highlighted by a return of a garbage tax, by means of a $400,000 garbage refuse appropriation that calls for a $203.36 annual charge per unit. It marks the first time a garbage fee has been imposed on town residences since the early 2000s.
Other spending includes: $261,078 for the Ransomville Fire District, with a tax rate of $2.058845; $184,760 for the Youngstown Volunteer Fire Co., with a tax rate of $1.024035; $52,275 for Lakeshore Sewer Improvement Area phases 1, II and III, with a rate of $250/$50/$5 per unit; $3,900 for the Mallory/Groveland Road project, with a rate of $300/$50 per unit; and $12,125 for the Harrison Lane Road Project, with a rate of $575/$50 per unit.
The amount to be raised by taxes under this schedule totals $1,721,053.
Still more details include proposed salaries of town officials: town supervisor, $35,768; town justices (two), $18,943; town councilman, $7,308 each; town clerk, $59,879; town tax collector, $6,685; and town high superintendent, $75,264. Town employees, excluding the Highway Department, are scheduled to receive a 2% cost of living increase under the plan.
Maggie Stein of the Youngstown Free Library questioned the town’s freeze in library spending for 2020. Scheduled appropriations under library contractual expense total $160,438 for both the Youngstown Free Library and the Ransomville Free Library in 2020.
Supervisor John “Duffy” Johnston explained that, due to budget shortfalls, namely sharp decline in gross receipts tax funding received from CWM Chemical Services, the town was faced with limited options. Included options are: raising water/sewer rates or raising sales tax or raising property taxes.
“We are just trying to keep everything even,” Johnston said.
Councilman Tim Adamson said the town could lose $40,000 in tax revenue should CWM succeed with its tax reassessment request, from $24 million to just $5 million for its Balmer Road property.
In other areas, Johnston pointed out the Youngstown Volunteer Fire Co. did receive a 2% increase, while spending for the Ransomville Fire District remained the same.
“There isn’t anything the town can do about a district,” he said.
Pointing to a $46,000 drop in AIM spending from the governor’s office to municipalities, Johnston said, “It’s tough to give raises when the town isn’t making money.”
Regarding the garbage fee, Johnston said it was intended to offset costs overall. “The cost of garbage is going up also. Times are changing, and it’s not for the better.