Ogdensburg approves 2017 budget

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  • PHOTOS BY VERA OLINSKI Municipal Auditor Thomas Ferry presents the Ogdensburg 2017 Municipal Budget.

  • On left, Mayor Steve Ciasullo says the council is happy to deliver another zero percent tax increase. Council members seated to the right of Ciasullo: Councilman David Astor, Councilman Peter Opilla, and Councilman George Hutnick.

The Ogdensburg Council unanimously approved the 2017 Municipal Budget on April 10.

Municipal Auditor Thomas Ferry presented the 2017 Budget for public hearing. Ferry said, the 2017 Borough Budget is $2,667,027, a decrease of $109,107 - 3.93 percent - from $2,776,134 in 2016.

He said the average assessed value house decreased to $221,250 from $221,359, resulting in the average in tax payer paying $2,441 on only the Ogdensburg municipal tax portion, not including school and county taxes.

“Everything was pretty much stable," Ferry said. "There is a flat tax increase. Everything is good. The fund balance is up, and the borough is doing very well.”

He also said, the 2017 municipal purpose local tax levy is: $2,169,494, a .001 percent increase, from $2,168,629. Ferry added, the tax rate went from 1.102 in 2016 to 1.103 in 2017.

In addition, the fund balance increased by $18,077 — 22 percent — from $81,768 to $99,845.

Chief Financial Officer Monica Goscicki said the fund balance took a big increase this year and had been going up and up over the years. She added, a little more was taken to balance the budget, but it was not anything significant.

“We're getting projects done," Goscicki said. "That's another good thing.”

Mayor Steve Ciasullo said, “Things are going well. The direction is good,” with stabilizing taxes in the town. He added, “We are happy to deliver another zero percent tax increase for the town.”

During Ferry's presentation, he specifically reviewed the following: out of every dollar tax payers pay, 31 cents goes to municipal purpose taxes; 35 cents to the local school; 18 cents to the regional high school; and 16 cents to the county.

The net valuation taxable decrease was $17,756 — .01 percent — from $196,641,223 to $196,623,467. One tax point equates to $19,662.

Receipts from delinquent taxes came in 1.58 percent higher than the previous year. Ferry added, “Which is astronomical.” He continued, delinquent taxes decreased by $95,000, or 43 percent.

The amount to be raised by taxation is $865 more than last year, basically zero — at .04 percent.

In terms of revenues, the amount raised by taxation is 81 percent; received from delinquent taxes: 4.69 percent; state aid: 7.4 percent; fund balance: 3.74 percent, local revenue: 2 percent; other special items: .41 percent; public and private revenue: .39 percent.

Expenditures increased $13,716 for municipal purposes — .62 percent - from $2,223,674 to: $2,237,390; shared services increased $1,311 from $65,516 to $66,827 — 2 percent; public and private programs decreased $19,274 from $30,575 to $11,301 – 63 percent; capital improvements remained at $20,000; debt service went up $470 dollars from $149,130 to 149,600 — .32 percent; deferred charges remained at $22,640; and the reserve for uncollected taxes went down $105,329 — 39.8 percent – from $264,598 to $159,269.

Ferry explained, because tax payers paid a higher percentage of their taxes last year, it freed $105,329, making “a huge difference, even if 1.58 percent seems small.”

Depending on the previous year's collection rate — 97.7 percent — the state mandates local governments add a reserve for bad debt and delinquent taxes, in order to cover the county and school budgets.

The calculation of reserve for uncollected taxes uses the following line items: general appropriations: $2,507,758; estimated local school tax: $2,413,260; estimated regional high school tax: $1,267,590; estimated county tax: $1,074,360; total general appropriations and other taxes: $7,262,968; less 2017 anticipated revenue: $497,533; cash required for 2017: $6,765,435; divided by the 2016 tax collection rate: 97.7 percent: $6,924,704; less cash required, results in reserve for uncollected taxes: $159,269.

The 5 year collection rates were: 2012: 95 percent; 2013: 95.88 percent; 2014: 96.51 percent; 2015: 96.12 percent; and 2016: 97.7 percent.

In appropriations, 84 percent goes to municipal purposes; almost 6 percent to the reserve for uncollected taxes; and 5.61 percent to debt service; 2.51 percent to shared service agreements, .85 percent to deferred charges; .75 percent to capital improvements; and .42 percent to public and private programs.

The water budget increased to $362,400 from $358,141 — 1.19 percent. It also used $468 more from the fund balance, increasing from $22,746 to $23,215 — 2 percent; rents went up $3,790, from $335,000 to $338,790 — 1.13 percent, and interest on investments remained at $395.

Water borough rents make up the bulk of revenue at 93.5 percent and fund balance: 6.4 percent.

The operations salary and wages went down $5,028, from $177,691 to $172,663 — 2.83 percent; capital improvements stayed at $35,000; debt service increased: $9,147, from $135,850 to $144,997 — 6.73 percent — a fixed amount based on the amortization schedule; statutory expenditures increased $140 from $9,600 to $9,740 – 1.46 percent.

The Water Utility Appropriations of expenses is: operating expenses: 47.64 percent; debt service: 40 percent, which Ferry said is large but manageable; capital improvements: 9.66 percent; and statutory expenditures: 2.69 percent.

They also unanimously passed an ordinance to exceed the municipal budget appropriation limits and to establish a cap bank.

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