Rhinebeck Budget Highlights!

New Rhinebeck budget highlights — must reading to understand the numbers!  To help inform the town hall 2007 budget hearing planned for this coming Thursday night at 6:45PM, here are key numbers that are sometimes hard to find in our budget document. The figures largely reflect a strategy of “reallocation” of existing expenditure lines, rather than simply increasing the 2006 budget.

The most significant changes in the budget include:

    *    $199,760 for  highway department road improvement projects, including $100,000 for Mt. Rutsen Road, which many consider Rhinebeck’s most dangerous, up from $109,000 for road improvements in the 2006 budget;

    *    a reduction of $133,000 in highway expenditures for bridge improvement since the bulk of the Fox Hollow bridge project will be completed in 2006;

    *    $100,000for comprehensive plan implementation, including SEQR review and actual implementation costs, down from $177,000 for comp plan consultant services in the 2006 budget;

    *    $86,606 in total increases for personal services (employee compensation) for across-the-board raises, new positions in the summer recreation program, and increasing the hours for five positions, including two from part-time to full time in our maintenance department and in town hall;

    *    $55,000 in unspecified transfers from regular expenditures to capital projects, down from $75,000, in recognition of more than $500,000 in reserve earmarked for future capital projects;

    *    $44,000 to replace a bond anticipation note payment of $69,648 in the 2006 budget, beginning repayment of the $300,000 ten-year bond for the highway department garage built five years ago;

   *    $23,556to reflect an increased commitment to maintain and improve the dock and park at the town landing in Rhinecliff, up from $5800 in 2006;

   *    a $12,500contract to Young Rhinebeck to support after school programs for middle school children with particular academic and social needs; and

    *    closing a line item for a $10,000 lawn contract, replaced by establishing the second full-time position in our town maintenance department.

    

    The largest salary increases are:

(a)  a $10,000 increase for town supervisor compensation (from $14,000 to $24,000) plus health benefits in recognition that the position is currently full-time, with a town board commitment to a public process next year to determine whether the town needs to officially plan for and adequately compensate full-time, town-wide management; and

(b) an $8,000 increase (from $46,000 to $53,000) to restore the highway superintendent’s salary to what it was before it was reduced in the 2006 budget.

* Please note that the budget also reflects $2 million in un-earmarked reserve funds for emergencies, non-recurring expenditures and to offset potential tax increases in the future.

For those of you who read through this list, I hope it helps to clarify a complicated budget document that we need to simplify, despite convoluted state guidelines to the contrary