villageoffice spring120The Village of Lansing finalized its budget Monday and set a date for a public hearing.  The adjustments, including a 7% salary rise for two Public Works Department employees, retirement benefits, social security and medicare payments, and capital project funding result in a $3,112,368 budget, and will exceed the state-imposed tax cap by more than 24%.  Mayor Donald Hartill said Monday that the tax rate will increase from $0.99 last year to $1.10 per thousand dollars of assessed value, and said that he expects to duplicate this year's tax rate rise again next year.

"We should be around $1.20," he said.  "We were at $1.20 historically.  There was a point when we were not spending quite enough on capital projects.  We were adding to the capital reserve fund.  That raises flags with the auditors, so I lowered it.  The next year the tax cap was enacted."

The $3,112,368 budget is actually about $1,000 lower than the draft originally considered, but Hartill says the proposed levy has not been changed in the current draft.  He said the 7% salary rise seems high at first glance, but it will bring some employee salaries in line with current salaries for like positions.

"We initially assigned two of our employees in the Public Works Department a 3% salary increase," Hartill said.  "Looking at competing salaries in the Town of Lansing, Bolton Point, and Cayuga Heights, it was clear that we were not in line with what the salaries should be.  This is a way of adjusting those salaries to be on par with the rest of the system."

The $513,086 levy has not been raised in this draft.  Hartill says the extra money will be moved from capital reserves, relative to managing a number of capital projects that are expected to total about $1.3 million in the coming budget year.

Hartill said that the Village would be closer to the state cap if New York imposed the tax cap fairly across taxing authorities.

"All capital projects are outside the 2% budget cap for the State," he said.  "Schools, ditto.  Towns, Villages -- no.  It's an imbalance that is crazy.  If our capital projects were outside the cap, we'd be home free.  We'd satisfy the cap every year."

The Village Board of Trustees voted to hold a public budget hearing April 4th at 7:35pm in the Village Hall.  The board is expected to approve the budget later that evening, after the hearing.