COPAKE—What would have been a 2% increase in town taxes next year has been reduced to a mere .6% increase thanks to the town assessor, Town Supervisor Jeff Nayer said this week.
Due to the sleuthing being done by Copake Assessor Craig Surprise and his team of data collectors, who are gathering and updating information on all Copake properties in connection with the ongoing property revaluation process, the taxable value of Copake is up by about $4 million over last year.
Mr. Surprise has discovered properties or improvements that were never on the books–properties with houses, swimming pools and garages for which the owners were never assessed–adding up to a broadening of the town’s tax base from $435 million to $440 million over just the last year.
The total amount to be raised by taxes next year is $1,184,855, up by 2% or $23,661 over the current year.
The town’s newly-adopted 2014 budget carries with it a 2% or $47,500 increase in total spending up to $2,049,832 next year.
Supervisor Nayer said $18,000 of that increase is due to voter approval of the Roeliff Jansen Community Library referendum, which raises the town’s portion of funding for the library from $37,000 to $55,000 annually. The measure squeaked through in Copake by four votes, 528 to 524. The Town Board had to wait for the final vote tabulation before the 2014 spending plan could be finalized and adopted November 20.
Another component of the increase in spending includes 3% raises for the town highway superintendent and his department.
The lion’s share of the total budget is dedicated to highway expenditures, which total $1,158,471 next year, up by 2.9% from $1,125,277 this year.
Luckily, estimated total revenues are also on the rise next year by 3.8% from $816,131 to $846,976, due in part to an increase in Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPs) funding from the state, said the supervisor. An $18,000 unexpended balance will also be applied to offset the amount be raised by taxes on the highway line.
Noting his overall happiness with the 2014 budget, Mr. Nayer said he and the board will continue their efforts to keep taxes down and keep monitoring expenses. He said such monitoring resulted in a switch in medical policies for town employees next year which will allow the town to reap some savings.
The town’s tax rate next year will be up by two cents from $2.66/$1,000 assessed value to $2.68/$1,000 assessed value. Mr. Nayer again credited the work of the assessor without which a $2.72/$1,000 tax rate would have resulted.
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