By NICOLE ANTONUCCI
FORT JOHNSON -- The tentative 2014-15 village budget calls for a decrease in spending but an increase in taxes, officials said Friday.
The spending plan is estimated at $245,650, an approximate $58,000 decrease from last year's budget of $304,298.
"Last year was a strange year because we were paying off recovery work from hurricanes Irene and Lee," Mayor Kenneth Walter said. "The decrease is because we have paid off the loans we took out for the recovery work."
Yet the estimated tax levy is increasing 1.48 percent over last year to $121,425.
As a result, the tax rate will also increase by 3.9 percent to $80.69 per $1,000 of assessed value. Last year's tax rate totaled $77.66 per thousand.
"This is mainly due to our assessed valuation going down by $40,000," Walter said. "We just found out that it has to do with a court decision that fiber optics are no longer taxable. The utilities had their assessments reduced by $40,000."
Other impacts to the 2014-15 budget could include infrastructure repairs and street maintenance, Walter said.
"We have been coasting for a few years since the sewer system was put in in 2000. They repaved all the streets so we had not needed do street repairs since then," he said. "However, the streets have started to deteriorate and we need to address some issues where we have to do some major repaving."
Walter said the village is limited on how much work can be done since it is restricted by the state-mandated 2 percent tax cap.
"We are already at 1.48 percent so we can't do much more," he said.
Walter anticipates an additional $88,950 in sales tax revenue to help the budget. This represents an approximate $4,000 increase from last year.
"Looking at the history of the sales tax revenues, I decided to bump up the anticipated revenues. We have been maintaining a high level of sales tax revenues," he said, adding revenues are not finalized.
With an appropriated fund balance of $37,275, Walter said he was able to further bring the budget below the tax cap.
The public hearing on the budget is scheduled for April 20 at 6:45 p.m. prior to the regular board meeting.