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Pound Ridge Budget Calls for 2.5 Percent Tax Hike

POUND RIDGE, N.Y. – Pound Ridge's tentative 2012 calls for a 2.5 percent increase in the tax levy, according to Steve Conti, the town’s director of finance.

If the budget is approved the way it’s currently configured, property owners would see an increase in taxes of about 27 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, which Conti says averages out to an increase of about $48 per household.

Of the $7.3 million spending package, $4.75 million is to be raised by taxes.

“Spending is down by $75,000 and salaries are down $15,000,” Conti said. “In fact, spending has been down the last three years since the market decline.”

The biggest cost increases, Conti said, were retirement benefits, healthcare and workman’s comp, which rose around 2.7 percent.

Conti said the town used some of its fund balance to pay off some debt and was also able to save money through retirements and attrition of the staff.

“The amount taken from the fund balance is less than last year,” he said. “We try to reduce the amount every year. The idea is to have a completely balance budget. Last year we took $300,000. A lot of it went toward reducing debt. We are not increasing spending.”

Conti said that one court position was reduced from full-time to part-time. In the highway department, one employee left and wasn’t replaced. Nothing was cut from the parks and recreation department and all the programs remain intact.

“With all the reductions in spending, we didn’t defer expenses to the future,” Conti said. “That was important.”

The tentative budget will go before the public at a public hearing on Dec. 1 at the Town House. Conti said that, depending on how the hearing goes, the budget could be approved that night. The town has until Dec. 25 to submit its final budget.

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