The Shawangunk Town Board unanimously approved a 2018 budget at its meeting last Thursday that stays within the state-mandated tax cap and raises $5,396,014 from taxpayers. The budget was designed to arrive right at the 1.84 percent tax levy cap, which allows the town to collect an additional $72,730 in taxes in 2018. “We’re right at the dollar, because if we don’t and there’s a year when we have a catastrophe, I like to build up the fund balance and start a reserve fund for infrastructure,” Shawangunk Supervisor John Valk said of the cap.
Most of the additional funds will go towards the Highway Department, with $1,695,398 to be collected from residents for that agency, a $42,000 raise over last year’s adopted spending plan. “The highway is in very big demand because of the bad winter, the salt and blacktop costs,” Valk said. “The personnel didn’t go up much. The union contract was very reasonable. I think we got that settled by the first of the year. That wasn’t a major expense, but the materials are very expensive.” The adopted budget includes $780,000 for general repairs, up from last year’s budget line of $718,324.
Under the adopted 2018 spending plan, homes with an average value of $250,000 should see an estimated tax increase of $14.85. The town’s fund balance outlook is good, as Shawangunk will apply $140,163 from the general fund balance toward the budget, leaving the town with an unapplied balance of $566,991. “When our general fund closes out at the end of the year, that will go back up or go down depending on how we finish out,” Valk said. The town will collect $1,502,002 in taxes for the general fund in 2018.
The supervisor is glad that the fund balance numbers have steadied in recent years after the town had to apply significant chunks toward its budgets earlier this decade, including $747,500 just six years ago. “I’m very pleased to see those lines go up,” Valk said. “We’re not spending a lot, so we’re keeping the fund balance at a healthy level.”
Valk gave a brief presentation on the proposed budget during the council’s Nov. 2 meeting before the board voted 5-0 to approve the plan. The budget includes $39,325 for the Water District and $60,215 for the Sewer District, with $342,566 allocated for the Wallkill Library District and $531,474 for the Wallkill Fire District. The Wallkill Ambulance District line is $80,702 in the adopted budget, while the Shawangunk Valley Fire Department will receive $325,272 in funding.
By Ted Remsnyder