Town board to hold virtual public hearing on spending and revenue proposal Nov. 4 at 7:30 p.m. 

MINETTO, N.Y. — Minetto taxpayers could see their town property taxes cut by more than 1/3 if the proposed spending plan is adopted without alterations.

The roughly $925,000 spending plan includes steep cuts to highway spending, and would bring property tax rates down to about $4.37 per $1,000 of assessed value from the $7 per $1,000 in the current budget year. The Minetto Town Board is holding a virtual public hearing on the spending and revenue proposal Nov. 4 at 7:30 p.m.

If adopted without major changes, the budget would cut taxes by about 37.5 percent, with a more than 42 percent reduction in the highway fund property tax rate, from $5.66 per $1,000 of assessed value in the current year to a proposed $3.28 per $1,000 in 2021, according to acting Minetto Supervisor John Familo.

A more modest decrease of about 19 percent, from $1.34 per $1,000 of assessed value to $1.09 per $1,000, is expected in the town’s general fund rate.

“We went through the budget line by line cutting wherever we could without significantly affecting operations,” Familo said in a statement, noting the town also put some projects on hold in the current year which helped boost fund balance, or savings.

Spending in the highway fund is expected to come down more than $160,000, or about 25 percent, from $659,109 in 2020 to $497,130 in 2021. General fund spending is up $9,000, or about 2 percent, from $418,496 in the current year to an anticipated $427,496 next year.

The acting supervisor, who took over earlier this year after the resignation of former supervisor David Domicolo, thanked the town officials and employees who helped craft the budget.

“I can’t emphasize enough how appreciative I am to everyone who played a role in this budget process,” Familo said. “I sincerely wish to thank each of our elected and appointed officials for the cooperative effort that went into putting our 2021 budget together.”

Familo gave special thanks to the town clerk and bookkeeper for their efforts, and Highway Superintendent Yacco, who the supervisor said was receptive to budget reductions, including replacing a full-time worker who retired this year with a seasonal employee.

“This staffing reduction has resulted in significant savings without putting anyone out of work,” Familo said of the move.

Along with the significant tax cut, residents of the town’s Sewer District #3 can expect to see a slight decrease in their rate, and Familo said the Minetto Volunteer Fire Department indicated a willingness to not seek any cost increases for the town’s fire protection contract in 2021.

Minetto, like many municipalities across the state and country, is anticipating reductions in revenue next year, Familo said, noting it’s especially difficult to predict revenues in the current financial climate. In addition to uncertain revenues, Familo said the town’s costs have risen, including a 7 percent increase in insurance premiums.

Familo said developing the 2021 spending and revenue plan was especially challenging as the town was recently notified that the owner of a hydroelectric generation station located in the town has filed documentation challenging the town’s assessment of the property’s value. The property owner, according to Familo, is claiming the property is worth $2.7 million, while the town has set the assessed value at $7.2 million.

In response, Familo said the town has hired an Albany-based law firm that specializes in the assessment of power generating facilities at the recommendation of the town assessor and town attorney.

“We anticipate this legal process to be costly,” Familo said. “However, whatever we need to spend to defend our assessment must be spent.” 

Information related to Wednesday’s budget hearing can be found on the town’s website at townofminetto.com. Anyone interested can join the meeting at meet.google.com/opm-yqru-wox or dial 929-266-1072 by phone and use the PIN 351 012 882#.

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