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Town of Oswegatchie OKs $2,277,820 budget for 2014

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HEUVELTON - The town of Oswegatchie has a 2014 budget in place.

The town board recently unanimously adopted a $2,277,810 spending plan with a tax rate of $2.6789 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

This year’s budget is $95,509 less, a $2,182,201 spending plan with a tax rate of $2.62 per $1,000.

The new budget includes a tax levy of $606,820, up from this year’s $581,237.

The town’s taxable value increased for another year, this time to $226,514,695 from $223,767,278.

The town was again able to stay under the state-imposed, 2-percent cap on property tax increases.

“This is pretty straightforward,” said William E. Dashnaw, the town’s budget officer, of the new spending plan.

Like other municipalities, the town of Oswegatchie is grappling with employee health care costs that in recent years have risen annually with no signs of subsiding. For 2014, the costs are projected to go up yet again, this time from year’s $119,000 to $135,000.

Health care costs for the town totaled $104,216.42 in 2012.

“We just can’t keep going up the way that we’re going,” said Town Supervisor Alfred “Bud” Nichols.

In other budget highlights:

The town’s annual contracts to help provide fire protection to the village of Heuvelton will cost $108,261. For Morristown, the cost will be $18,250.

The town’s annual allocation from the state’s Consolidated Highway Improvement Program will be $173,333, an increase of about $40,000 from this year’s $135,180.

Raises were approved for: Highway Superintendent Karl W. Cougler, $1,510, bringing his salary to $56,000; Justice William J. Rupp, $500, bringing his salary to $13,500; Justice Michael P. Hebert, $500, bringing his salary to $9,500; Clerk Vicki L. Thornhill, $1,000, bringing her total pay to $27,500; and Code Enforcement Officer Timothy Tuttle, $1,000, bringing his salary to $44,430.

Voting with Mr. Nichols in favor of the budget were councilors Lillian O. LaRose, Michael Stoner, Bruce O. LaRose and Kenneth Wilson.

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