BUSTI - A one-year police services contract extension has been reached between town of Busti and village of Lakewood officials.
On Monday, the Busti Town Board passed a motion to extend the current police services contract with Lakewood. The one-year extension will increase the amount town residents pay by $20,000 to a total of $360,000 in 2013. In recent years, the annual amount the town would pay for the Lakewood-Busti Police Department would usually increase $10,000 each year.
Jesse Robbins, Busti supervisor, said at the beginning of the new year, town and village officials will again start negotiating to reach a long-term deal. He said Lakewood officials still have to approve the contract extension. The Lakewood Village Board next meets at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13.
Since June, officials from both municipalities have met several times to discuss a new contract agreement on how much each should pay annually for the Lakewood-Busti Police Department. The Lakewood-Busti Police Department budget, with pension and insurance costs, is around $1.3 million a year.
In other Busti business, the board held a public hearing on its 2013 budget. No member of the public spoke during the public hearing. Robbins said the board will vote at its next meeting, Monday, Nov. 19, on whether to accept the spending plan.
After budget discussions and with the new police services agreement, the tentative budget has a $120,797 tax levy increase, a 13 percent jump. The tax levy is the amount of money raised through property taxes. The total proposed tax levy is $964,420. The tax rate proposed in the budget will increase 27 cents to $2.85 per $1,000 assessed property value.
Robbins said a majority of the tax increase comes from the workman's compensation charge. The workman's compensation charge is $64,000 for the town in 2013. This is a charge that was not part of the town's budget last year, but was part of the county's budget.
This year, county officials will be billing towns rather than doing a chargeback. The county eliminated chargebacks of workmen's compensation after a state audit showed $69,000 in tax cap overrides. Because chargebacks were not included as part of its tax levy calculations, the county went over its limit. As a result, towns now will be billed directly from the county, as is the current practice for villages and cities. In turn, towns will increase their tax levy to make up the difference.
Robbins said a decrease in sales tax revenues has also added to the proposed tax levy increase.