Wells board holds the line on budget

By CRISTINE MEIXNER

Editor

WELLS - The Town of Wells Preliminary Budget for 2014 shows appropriations of $1,735,650, just $870 above this year's appropriations.

Despite the flat budget, the tax levy is expected to go up by $35,005 or 3.1 percent, due to reduced revenues. "If final adoption stays close to where we are right now, and I will assume we are fairly close, we will be under the tax cap limit by several thousand dollars," Supervisor Brian Towers says.

The proposed tax levy in 2014 for the combined General, Highway and Water funds is $1,163,135. The 2013 tax levy for the three funds was $1,128,130.

The town board reviewed the tentative budget, made some changes and adopted it as the preliminary budget Oct. 3.

Increases in the 2014 budget include funds to cover the cost of necessary repairs to Algonquin Dam as well as increases in health insurance premiums, retirement payments and Workers Compensation Insurance.

The Preliminary Budget contains a 1.75 percent increase in wages for all but two employees. Towers said he did not include this raise for newly appointed Water District Operator George Paige, as his salary was increased in September when he was promoted.

Laborer David Brenan has asked for a $2 per hour raise. He requested an increase after agreeing to become a Wells Volunteer Ambulance Corps EMT, with his training paid for by the town.

The town agreed previously to pay Brenan whenever he is called as a volunteer for an ambulance run during normal work hours, in line with the town's policy of paying employees who are volunteer firemen when they are asked to leave work to assist with an emergency.

Brenan's proposed $2 per hour increase in pay will be contingent upon his successful completion of the course and certification as an EMT.

Other than the town's full-time working highway superintendent, no increase is proposed for any elected or appointed official.

The fire district number is in the total appropriations, but not its levy or tax cap numbers because it must report separately as a "district" to the state.

Editor's Note: This article is primarily based on draft minutes of the Wells Town Board meeting of Oct. 3, 2013 as provided by Town Clerk Mari Wilson.