SUNDERLAND/DANBY - Earlier this week both the Sunderland and Danby select boards approved their fiscal year 2014 budgets, which is now ready for March Town Meeting.

Sunderland, which approved its budget on Monday, Jan. 21, will call for a total spending package of $503,226. Last year the total budget was $475,645, for an increase of $27,581. If this budget were to be approved during Town Meeting with all the accompanying special articles, the tax rate would be $.1576 per $100 of assessed value. For the owner if a house assessed at $100,000, they would pay $242.80.

One of the things driving the rise in this year's budget is the proposal of the new Town Hall building. Although the building still has to be voted on during Town Meeting it must still be accounted for in this year's budget in case it passes.

During the Select Board meeting on Monday, Select Board Chairman Mark Hyde explained how Town Hall is built into this year's budget.

"We had to build the budget so that if the building and bonding is approved we can make the bond payments that will start in November 2013," he said. "However, we still need to ensure that if the building is not approved that we still have the amount necessary to pay for the rent of the current building."

Hyde said that if the Town Hall building is not passed, the money set aside for it during this year's budget would not be spent and might be used to decrease the tax rate next year.


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"We added a new line to the budget labeled 'loan payments' for the amount of $7,700, which is the first years payment," said Hyde. Additionally, we modified the 'office rental' line and increased it to from the current amount of $4,800 to $8,760, which is the amount we estimate that maintenance on the new building would cost for one year."

Also during the meeting the Select Board included $5,000 in the highway budget for the painting of the Town Garage and $8,800 in the General Fund to provide health insurance to the Town Clerk, Rose Keogh.

Danby

The Danby Select Board met on Tuesday, Jan. 22 to finalize and approve the fiscal year 2014 budget. The approved budget calls for $1,100,608 to be raised by property taxes. The budget approved last year was set at $1,149,134, a decrease of $48,526. Under the approved budget, the tax rate would be .44529.

Driving the budget this year includes an increase in the highway fund of $50,000 that includes $20,000 for the equipment reserve fund to be used on a new fire truck, among other things.

A line item labeled "Special Projects," which is a fund for town jobs that require additional money, will see a $15,000 decrease this year.

Last year, Special Projects was budgeted at $25,000, This year that item will be only $10,000.

"Special projects are jobs that we have on the side that require an additional expense," said Select Board Member Michael Blair. "We just don't see that much happening to appropriate that much money this year."

The Town of Danby is also looking into a possible upgrade of the town offices. In a January 3 select board meeting, members decided that a cost analysis will be completed to estimate the cost of upgrading the town offices, which has three options.

The first option is to analyze the costs to renovate the Holy Trinity Church into a town office. Wright said about three years ago the church closed and was offered to the Town. The second option to look into is the upgrading of the current town offices and the third is to see how much it would cost to start from scratch and build an entire new town offices building.