GRANBY, N.Y. — Granby officials are holding a hearing tonight on a 2021 spending plan that, if adopted without changes, would increase property taxes in the town by less than $5 for most property owners.

The roughly $1.68 million spending and revenue proposal includes moderate reductions in spending despite decreased revenues and steep increases in insurance and employee retirement costs. The Granby Town Board is holding a public hearing at 6 p.m. tonight at Granby Town Hall, but is not expected to vote on the proposal until next week.

If adopted as proposed, the budget would result in the total property tax rate increasing to $2.34 per $1,000 of assessed value from the $2.31 per $1,000 in the current budget year. The total town property tax bill for a property valued at $100,000 would be about $234, up from $231 in 2020.

“We fell a little short between our appropriations and our estimated revenue, so we had to increase the tax levy just a little,” said Granby Supervisor John Snow, calling it “unfortunate, especially during these times.”  

Snow said town officials worked very hard on crafting the spending and revenue plan for the coming year, but there were a number of factors working against the town, such as increased costs for employee retirement contributions and increased health insurance rates.

Certain town revenues, including sales tax collections, state aid and court fines and fees are also down significantly, Snow said, noting court revenues have been cut nearly in half from the $60,000 typically collected annually. Snow said revenue projections for the coming year have been decreased in anticipation of that trend continuing.

Total town spending in the highway fund is expected to reach about $980,000, a roughly $45,000 increase from the amended 2020 budget. General fund expenses are set at about $702,000, a decrease of about $32,000 from the current year’s amended budget.

Snow said the town board monitored expenses closely throughout 2020, and made a number of proactive moves to shore up the town’s finances.

“We cut back our budget three times to prepare for this,” Snow said of several attempts made earlier this year by the town board to slash costs in anticipation of revenue shortfalls, adding officials also put off certain projects, such as the paving of the parking lot at town hall.

Town officials will continue monitoring finances and keep a close eye on revenues, Snow said, and Granby has a healthy fund balance that could help cover any unforeseen expenses.

“I’m pretty confident we’ll be in a good place,” Snow said of the town’s financial position at the end of the coming budget year, noting the town’s fiscal health has steadily improved in recent years.

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