BALLSTON – The Ballston Town Board has reached a tentative agreement on the Town’s 2019 budget. The nearly $7.7 million spending plan stays under the state-mandated 2 percent tax cap and includes 2 percent raises for all Town employees.
Sales tax revenue for the Town, which is collected by and dispersed through Saratoga County, is conservatively estimated to be $3.059 million next year, up from the 2018 estimate of $2.9 million. The Town will once again be able to fund its General and Highway operating expenses primarily through sales and mortgage tax revenues without imposing a Town tax.
“This is a very solid budget,” Supervisor Tim Szczepaniak said. “We were able to stay under the tax cap, address issues in our water metering and maintenance process, provide well-earned raises to employees and add some needed staff positions.”
The Town is addressing long-standing water problems by replacing aging water meters with new, more accurate meters. Currently, the Town estimates 38 percent of water that passes through the system goes unmetered.
Water rates will increase to $5 per 1,000 gallons for all property owners in 2019 to cover the costs of ongoing maintenance and repair. For residents of water Districts #5 (Paradowski), Scotchbush #6 and Scotchbush #6.1, rates will increase from $4.18 per thousand gallons to $5 per thousand. Morningdale Court and Consolidated Water District #2 will increase from $4.75 per thousand to $5.
The Town recently agreed to a contract with the Town of Glenville to continue to provide water to Ballston through 2025, resulting in a $70,000 annual savings that will help offset costs.
The Town Board also plans to hire a part-time facilities manager, a part-time custodian and a full-time assistant building inspector.
Health care costs are estimated to increase between 3.5 and 5 percent – a much lower estimate than the 10 to15-percent increases in recent years.
Residents can comment on the proposed budget at the Town Board’s public hearing at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 30 in Town Hall.