To the Valley News:

On November 8, 2012, the Elizabethtown Town Board held a Public Hearing on the 2013 Preliminary Budget. The Public hearing allows the Town Board to listen to the comments from Town residents. Copies of the 2013 Budget were available prior to the Public Hearing.

The Preliminary Budget included a written explanation of the general budget items, including the General Fund, Highway Fund and six Special District Funds. I explained that the Town Budget includes over 300 line items and that anyone with questions about specific lines should come by the Town Hall and I would go over any parts of the budget with them. I asked the seven members of the public if they had any comments. Several people spoke about funding concerns and asked general questions, which the Town Board answered. A video of the Public Hearing can be viewed on Charter Channel 16 on Fridays at 2 a.m., 10 a.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The Town Board approved the 2013 Town Budget on Nov. 20. On Tuesday, Nov. 27, an auditor from the New York State Comptroller’s Office conducted the required Budget/Tax Cap Audit on the Elizabethtown 2013 Budget. The Town’s Budget came in under the State mandated tax cap for Elizabethtown. The tax cap included a carryover from the previous year. A 6% drop in the tax levy, which was approved by the Town Board in November 2011, created this carryover. The $1,500 reduction in the insurance buy out was because Supervisor Merrihew used to take the $1,500 buy out. Once he was gone that buy out was no longer paid, and I do not take a buy out from the town, so that saved the town $1,500.

Increases in the budget were to pay for increased health insurance costs, higher pension costs, and higher fuel costs.

The Auditor did find two errors in the previous year’s tax cap calculation, which had been filed in October 2011 by the previous bookkeeper. These errors included a $43,021 pension deduction that should not have been taken, as well as a $9,000 overstatement of revenue that the town never received. I corrected these errors in our 2013 tax cap calculation.

Copies of the 2013 Elizabethtown Budget are available in the Town Hall and are also posted on the Town Website.

Margaret Bartley, Supervisor

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