Manlius Town Board adopts budget, agrees to plow county roads

— The Manlius Town Board approved a $12.93 million spending plan for 2013 at its Nov. 14 meeting. The plan includes a tax rate increase of 18 cents per $1,000 assessed valued — up to $4.77 from $4.59 — and represents a 4.74 percent increase in spending from 2012.

“Ten cents of that 18 cents is entirely due to New York State retirement,” Councilor Nick Marzola said.

Marzola said balancing the budget proved difficult because state retirement costs rose 26 percent since last year, health care costs rose 10 percent and the tax base has been consistently flat in recent years. The town saved nearly $40,000 by not hiring a new planning and development director when David Tessier retired Oct. 1. It also took $682,000 from the fund balance; the town took $600,000 from that account in 2012.

The state’s rising pension costs are forcing the town of Manlius to get “pretty close” to the minimum fund balance that the state requires it to have, Marzola said.

“We cannot continue to use $600,000 fund balance going forward,” he said.

Marzola complimented the police department for cutting $150,000 from its budget by not filling two vacated police officer positions.

“We were able to reduce some significant personnel cuts as a result of the police department tightening their boot straps,” he said.

The town will see some additional revenue come in from Onondaga County next year since it has agreed to plow all county roads within town lines. Manlius was one of five towns, including DeWitt, that didn’t sign the county’s contract last year. The contract asked towns to pick up the plowing of county roads at a rate of $6,335 per centerline mile, a 7-percent increase from the previous year.

Supervisor Ed Theobald said the county’s town supervisors had been negotiating with the county and agreed last month to an increased rate of $6,600 per centerline mile for 2013. Under a five-year contract between the towns and the county, that rate will go up by 2 percent each year. By 2017, the county will be paying the town a rate of $7,143 per centerline mile, which made the deal more appealing to the town, Theobald said.

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