Says Approach to Commercial Development in the Town of Malta Yielding Results
· No General Town Tax (34th consecutive year)
· No Highway Tax (17th consecutive year)
· Revenue growth of more than $500,000 due to new strategy
· Funds first responders, parks and recreation, and senior programs
· Reduces spending by more than $120,000
MALTA –Supervisor Vince DeLucia released an initial 2018 budget proposal at last week’s Town of Malta Board meeting, outlining a balanced budget marked by a fully funded first responders budget, targeted investments in the highway department, and robust resources for parks and recreation, as well as senior programs. The budget proposal avoids a general town tax for the 34th consecutive year and a highway tax for the 17th consecutive year.
Based on no Town or Highway tax, a home assessed at $250,000 would see a tax levy of a mere $243 (a decrease of $10 from 2017). Most of that levy at the local level is driven by resident-approved taxes to provide Library services and Fire District support.
In a press release, Supervisor DeLucia said, “I’m proud of the work the Town’s professional staff has put into developing a prudent, responsible budget. Our strategy to increase our share of revenue by encouraging commercial development has yielded results faster than we could have anticipated and is already returning money to our residents’ wallets.”
The statement also said “Since taking office in 2016, the new Town government has focused on a shift in philosophy in regards to development, building a strategy that will increase private investment in the Town and enable the Town to remain tax-free. This strategy has been focused on attracting commercial investment to broaden the Town’s assessed tax base and grow the Town’s share of County sales tax revenue.”
The steps taken thus far include:
· Feb. 2016, the Board changed zoning on Route 9 South/Route 67 East to commercial from residential, based on longtime input from the community;
· Aug. 2016, the Town established an economic development committee to build a strategic plan focused on attracting commercial investment. That committee plans to issue its initial report by years’ end;
· Oct. 2016, the Town voted to rezone Route 67 West from residential to commercial;
· Evaluation of the remaining commercial corridor on Route 9 North, the Town appointed a Route 9 North Comprehensive Plan Review Committee, and is considering those recommendations from that committee received in 2017; and
· Following input from the Economic Development Committee, the Town’s Engineers, Developers, Staff and local economic developers, the Town eliminates State Environmental Quality Review Act (“SEQRA”) recreation mitigation fees on commercial developments.
The statement also said, “The steps have led to the Town’s assessed tax roll to grow by more than $160 million and revenue of more than $5.1 million from the Town’s share of Saratoga County sales tax. This represents an increase in the Town’s revenue from sales tax of more than $500,000 since 2016. In addition to the increased revenue, the budget has taken a conservative approach, reducing spending by more than $120,000, despite salary and pension cost increasing and rapidly growing health care premiums.”
Funding in the 2018 budget include:
· First Responders – The budget proposes nearly $2.6 Million in funds for services, an increase of more than $80,000 from 2017.
· Highway Department – Servicing more than 75 lane miles of roadway in the Town, the proposed budget provides nearly $2.5 Million in resources to clear snow, maintain roads, ensure highway safety and build roadway improvements, while also dedicating $215,000 to highway reserves for equipment needs.
· Parks and Recreation – The Town of Malta has more than 560 acres of developed parks, trails, and protected open space, as well as one of the most popular and well-regarded recreation programs in the region. The proposed budget dedicates $195,000 of funds to maintain, and protect this parkland, as part of a $764,000 commitment to these amenities. In addition, based on residential use, the budget proposed more than $20,000 in funds to support the programs of the Ballston Area Recreation Commission to supplement funds allocated to provide services not offered directly by the Town’s Department.
· Library – Malta residents approved an increase in the levy for the operations of the library district in 2017, resulting in dedicated funding of nearly $340,000 for the library district operations in 2018.
· Seniors – The Town has outlined nearly $32,000 in funds dedicated to senior programs and support. The proposed budget includes $6,000 for Care Links, $5,600 for the Office for the Aging’s Transportation and Nutrition program, $12,000 in discounts for Community Center programs for senior citizens. The budget also calls for $8,000 in funds to support Malta Senior Citizens, Inc. a private non-profit organization providing programming and activities for Senior Citizens in Town.
The Town Board has begun their review of the proposed budget, with an initial review with the Comptroller on October 4, and will hold a series of public budget workshops over the next several weeks, including the following schedule:
Wednesday, Oct. 11
7:00 a.m. Assessor
7:15 a.m. Highway
8:00 a.m. Maintenance/Grounds
Monday, Oct. 16
6:00 p.m. Fire Companies/Not-For-Profit
(Regular Town Board Meeting)
Wednesday, October 18 7:00 AM Parks & Recreation
8:00 a.m. Building & Planning
8:30 a.m. Animal Control
Wednesday, October 25 7:00 AM Tax Receiver
7:30 a.m. Town Clerk
8:00 a.m. Town Board Discussion
View the tentative budget on the Town’s website, CLICK HERE