Gabriella Dedrick plays at the 2011 Ticonderoga summer youth recreation program. The 2012 tentative Ticonderoga budget calls for the elimination of the summer program.
The tentative 2012 Ticonderoga budget calls for the elimination of the community summer youth recreation program.
The program serves about 100 children a year, offering arts and crafts, sports, swimming and other activities. It also provides daily breakfast and lunch through a federal food program.
That’s one of the cuts in a $4.9 million proposed spending plan that falls within the new state-imposed 2 percent tax cap.
The plan is not final and Ticonderoga officials want to know the public’s 2012 budget priorities.
That’s why trustees will hold an informational meeting Tuesday, Oct. 25, at 6 p.m. in the Community Building auditorium.
“It will be a casual, relaxed, informational meeting,” Supervisor Deb Malaney said. “People can ask questions and make suggestions about the 2012 budget. We hope people let us know what’s important to them.”
Town officials have been working on next year’s budget for some time and have a tentative spending plan in place. That plan meets the new state 2 percent tax cap.
“I would like to see us stay within the tax cap,” Malaney said.
Municipalities can exceed the 2 percent tax cap if four of five town board members agree.
The 2 percent cap allows for a tax levy increase of $48,540 in the town’s general fund and $25,605 in the highway fund.
Ticonderoga’s tentative budget calls for a 1 percent increase, $18,059, in the general fund and an 8 percent increase, $133,137, in the highway department. Combined they total less than a 2 percent overall tax hike, Malaney said.
Fire district budgets are part of the overall town budget, but are submitted by fire district commissioners. Town boards have no say on fire district budgets. The Chilson fire district has submitted a budget that calls for a 1 percent tax increase. The Ticonderoga fire district has not yet submitted its budget.
The tentative budget contains personnel and program cuts. It eliminates a police officer, a highway department employee, a sewer treatment plant worker, a landfill position and a janitorial job.
It also cuts the after-school youth program and eliminates the summer youth recreation program. The proposed budget calls for cutting back on the hours and days lifeguards will be at the town beach in 2012, as well.
“The youth (after-school) program at the Armory has not been well attended for a long time,” Malaney said. “This year we asked parents to help support the summer program and it still ended up losing money.
“The immediate savings as projected is $15,000 in the youth budget and $62,000 for the summer program and beach program,” Malaney said.
Malaney said the town will not adopt across the board budget cuts.
“The goal is to retain as many services as possible, although many will be at a reduced level,” she said. “It’s bad financial practice to cut across the board. We never want to cut areas that generate revenues.”
Malaney stressed the tentative budget is still subject to change.
“The pending (Ticonderoga) fire department budget and other unknown financial factors are concerning,” the supervisor said. “Either could push the budget beyond the 2 percent cap.”
The town must adopt a preliminary budget by Nov. 4. It will hold a public hearing on the budget plan Nov. 10 at 6 p.m. and must adopt the 2012 budget by Nov. 20.