The towns of Kent and Carmel unveiled their preliminary 2017 budgets last month, with taxes flat in Kent and increasing by 1.5 percent in Carmel.
Kent’s $14,241,982 budget, not including special districts, represents a $13,651 increase (around 0.1 percent) from this year, while the tax levy remains flat at $11,452,681 in 2017.
“We’re extremely thrilled that we have had three years in a row without raising taxes,” said Kent Supervisor Maureen Fleming. “We’ve asked our departments to be very careful, and they have been. They don’t throw money away.”
Of the total, $4,145,170 will go towards the highway fund, with the remainder going to the general fund. The town’s fund balance will be used to purchase $388,000 dollars of equipment, including $235,000 for a big MAC truck. Fleming said the town was able to keep the levy flat without making any painful cuts.
“We haven’t done it by laying people off. We have contracts with all of our unions,” Fleming said. “We haven’t cut benefits, we haven’t cut people’s salaries, and we haven’t cut any positions to do it.”
Including special districts, such as fire, water, and sewer, brings total spending to $18,195,714 for 2017. The town will hold a hearing on the proposed budget on Tuesday, Nov. 1, at 7 p.m. at Kent Town Hall, where the town will give a budget presentation. The hearing will remain open, Fleming said, until Nov. 15, when the town board is set to adopt the budget.
“I’m very proud of three years of no tax increase,” Fleming said. “We don’t even think much about the [state-mandated tax] cap here in Kent, because our goal is to keep our taxes flat.”
The budget can be found on the Town of Kent website, townofkentny.gov.
Carmel’s $27,150,382 preliminary budget includes a $22,048,322 tax levy, up $320,497, or around 1.5 percent, from this year. The tax rate will go up a bit more – 1.6 percent – due to a decrease in the town’s total assessed value.
“It’s a very responsible budget,” said Supervisor Ken Schmitt, noting that the tax increase was the lowest in his nine years in office. “There are not a lot of extras in this budget.”
The majority of the town’s spending – around 71 percent, or $19.3 million – will go towards employee costs. The highway department accounts for $8.1 million, or 29.7 percent, while public safety expenditures will cost $9.4 million, or 34.7 percent of the budget. Eighty-one percent of the town’s revenues come from property taxes, though the town is projected to see higher mortgage tax revenue as well as a greater employee contribution to their healthcare costs.
A public hearing on the budget was scheduled for the evening of Wednesday, Nov. 2, and Schmitt said the town plans to adopt the budget at its Nov. 16 meeting.
“Our goal is to maintain a responsible budget for the taxpayers and to stay under the cap,” said Schmitt. “We treat that as a priority because we want to maintain savings for the taxpayers.”
The budget and a budget presentation can be found