October 11, 2012


Homer tax rate unchanged in budget proposal

Spending up 4 percent next year

Staff Reporter

HOMER — The town of Homer’s proposed budget for 2013 is $1.6 million, a 4 percent drop from this year’s $1.7 million budget.
A public hearing on the proposal is scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 7, to be followed by the Town Board meeting. The proposed budget was passed at the Oct. 3 meeting.
The proposed tax levy is slightly higher than this year’s, edging up by 0.3 percent from $418,150 to $419,414.
Under the proposed budget, the tax rate for those who live outside the village of Homer would remain $1.70 per $1,000 of assessed property value. Taxpayers inside the village would continue to pay a rate of $1.28. Taxpayers outside the village would pay an additional 42 cents per $1,000 for fire protection. The Homer fire district’s budget is $83,500.
The village of Homer provides fire protection to village residents.
The taxable value of property in the proposed town budget is $327,519,444, up 0.3 percent from this year’s $326.5 million.
Among the major changes between the current and proposed budget is an increase in spending for state retirement, said Town Supervisor Fred Forbes. The estimated cost of retirement in 2012 was $54,000, Forbes said, but then the actual bill came to $69,000. The proposed budget calls for $70,000, a 30 percent increase from this year’s estimate.
Workers’ compensation fees have also risen.
The preliminary budget calls for $30,632.17 to cover workers compensation. That’s a rise of 42 percent from $21,480 in 2012.
But, as of Aug. 31, the Homer paid $25,762 for workers compensation.
The cost of workers compensation in Homer has steadily increased since 2010 when the town paid $14,630. Forbes pointed to an accident three years ago in which a highway worker hurt his shoulder after falling on ice at the highway garage as the reason for the increase.
“It should start to go back down next year barring no accidents,” Forbes said.
Raises of about 2 percent are planned for the town clerk, code enforcer, highway superintendent and court clerk.
Health insurance has also gone up, Forbes said. The 2012 budget sets aside $127,500; the proposed budget earmarks $138,000. That’s an 8 percent increase for health insurance.
The proposed budget also has raises for highway workers.
“I’ve got enough money in the budget for a raise to some degree for them,” Forbes said, emphasizing that the raises will ultimately be the decision of the Town Board.


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