Vestal balances budget, keeps tax levy low

By Michelle Costanza

Vestal balances budget, keeps tax levy low

September 30, 2013 Updated Sep 30, 2013 at 11:50 PM EDT

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) As many towns scramble to make cuts to balance 2014 budgets, Vestal board members said they are in good fiscal shape for the upcoming year.

After nearly a month of planning and discussion, Vestal released a tentative budget proposal Monday evening.

The plan will put the spending increase at 2.1 percent, compared to the 4.5 percent levy outlined in the current year's budget. With the 2014 arrangement, homeowners will pay an additional $13.16 per $100,000 of assessed property value.

For many New York municipalities, increased health insurance costs and reduced pension contributions have posed an extra challenge this budget season. But Vestal Town Supervisor John Schaffer said they've found ways to balance the scale by making cuts in town utilities and vehicles.

"We've cut things, but we have not cut personnel. We have no plans of laying people off. We're filling positions in fact, summer help, our parks department, and highway," said Schaffer.

By rearranging the town's finances, Schaffer said they were even able to increase funding in some areas, including staffing for recreation programs and beefing up the town's library.

Though the proposed budget meets the state's tax cap, board members will continue to look for additional cuts before the final version is drafted in November.