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Somers Town Council Confers on 2012 Budget

SOMERS, N.Y. – The Somers Town Board held a series of meetings during the last week of October to evaluate next year’s budget and try to reach agreement on where necessary cuts could be made. Supervisor Mary Beth Murphy announced the tentative budget would abolish the town’s conservation board and eliminate two police officer positions.

“It’s been a difficult budget year, especially trying to keep taxes within the 2 percent cap,” Murphy said, who is up reelection this year and running unopposed. “There’s been a lot of discussion, but our meeting was very productive. Murphy said the board reviewed each budget line carefully and consolidated where they could.

“Unfortunately, personnel is a large percentage of our budget,” she said. “We’re looking at changing hours, retirements and layoffs.”

The bottom line on the 2012 budget comes to $12,600,828, an increase of $248,627 over the 2011 budget. In terms of real estate tax, the rate would increase from $11.90 to $13.36 per $1,000 of assessed value.

The proposed budget falls almost precisely within the confines of the governor’s 2 percent state mandated tax cap. It allows for the purchase of two pieces of highway equipment and includes a 1.5 percent increase in salaries for town staff who have not received raises in four years.

Murphy pointed out that this is still a preliminary tentative budget. In the past, the board has not been involved until later in the budget process.

Councilman Harry Bolton said he is opposed to some of the decisions made at the meetings. “I would look deeper into the debt service,” he said. “What is it costing us to borrow money to do things?” Bolton is also displeased with the elimination of two police positions.

A copy of the 31-page proposed budget is available on the town website and at town hall. A public hearing is scheduled for Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m.

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