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Town of Keene’s budget under tax cap

November 22, 2019
By ELIZABETH IZZO - Staff Writer ( , Lake Placid News

KEENE - Keene's town budget is under the state tax cap, according to town Supervisor Joe Pete Wilson Jr.

The town adopted a budget for 2020 on Nov. 7 with a more than $1.2 million general fund spending plan, which includes employee pay and benefits, debt payments and money for things like parks and recreation, public safety, sidewalk repair and the Garden hiker shuttle.

A tax levy of $906,505, a 3.8% increase, is attached. The rest will be funded by revenue.

Wilson said the town's general fund won't be impacted by any major projects next year, though the town is continuing to tackle capital improvements in the water districts.

The town plans to contribute $6,365 to the operation of the Keene Valley Library, a slight decrease from last year's $7,000 contribution. Taxpayers would contribute $51,152 - $2,250 less - toward Keene Public Library's projected $54,802 spending plan next year.

The town isn't planning on making any significant cuts, Wilson said.

"This year we didn't make any significant cuts but I can see that coming down the road with the increases in health and retiree costs," he said.

As a small town with limited bargaining power, there's not much the town can do to control some of those costs, according to Wilson.

"There's only so many years you can sustain that. We need to address how we're going to stay under the tax cap," he said.

The town hopes to save some money next year by returning the shuttle between Marcy Field and the Garden trailhead to its original schedule before the Garden parking area was closed due to the replacement of the Johns Brook Bridge, according to Wilson.

By the time the shuttle stopped service for the season, the town spent $39,739 on the service, $18,109 more than the budgeted cost of running the shuttle seven days a week during the spring and summer. The money spent beyond what was budgeted came from the town's contingency fund and reserves, Wilson said.

"We knew we would lose money on the shuttle," he said. "We really did spend a lot of money running it."



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