Taxpayers in Hartsville could be facing a 48- to 72-percent tax hike next year.
A tax hike ranging from 48- to 72-percent is possible for property owners next year.
That’s according to Supervisor Steve Dombert, who called a special meeting Tuesday to review budget issues.
Dombert said this year the town plans to spend $351,707, but will only bring in $252,407 in revenue. He said the difference will be funded by the unexpended balance — or money from the town’s general and highway fund checking accounts.
“That is something you can do once, because it will not be there next year,” he said.
Dombert said the difference in what the town is taking in and what it allotted for spending can be accounted for by the fact the town had $99,300 in its banking accounts it added to the budget.
“They just used all of the money they had and put it in the budget,” he said of the previous administration. “They were doing things on the spur of the moment without any advance plan.”
Dombert said it’s not as though the town overspent on one particular item. He said the town does have reserve funds, but he doesn’t want to use those.
Dombert said in order to fund a 2009 budget of $352,000, the town would have to raise taxes between 48- and 72-percent to account for the deficit, which could range between $60,000 and $90,000.
“If we don’t take steps now, we’re going to have a big problem,” he said.
While the town could put money from the general fund into the highway fund, Dombert said, money cannot be taken out of the highway fund to account for costs.
In other business:
The board voted to cancel the purchase of a pick-up truck for the highway department if the town can receive an agreement in writing stating there will be no penalty.
Dombert said the truck being replaced has 64,000 miles on it.
“I think we’re going to have to make do with it for at least another year,” he said.
Dombert said the town previously purchased a CAT roller for the highway department.
He said one payment for the roller was signed only by former Deputy Supervisor Gene Garrison and was not approved by other board members.
“This was completely improper the way he went about it,” he said. “I don’t know what we can do about it.”
Councilman Jim Perry said he did not agree to purchase the roller and truck. Dombert said there are more vouchers with only Garrison’s signature that he sent checks for without board approval.
The board approved a motion to change the town’s pay day to Tuesday beginning April 2. Dombert said currently, employees turn in their time sheets Wednesday and receive their checks Thursday.
“It’s just not a very workable situation,” he said.
Dombert said there was not much response to his request for a budget planning committee at the last board meeting. He said he will have everyone work on the issues and call extra meetings if necessary.
“The people are on the town board to help shape these issues, and that’s the way it should be,” he said.
Perry noted Councilwoman Mattie Parini, Dombert and Clerk Kay Miles attended a training session in Rochester. He said the four did not charge the town for mileage.
“They’re doing everything they can for the town,” he said.
Perry said he and Dombert also attended a supervisor and deputy supervisor meeting in Bath.