Watertown Eyes 34% Tax Hike In Preliminary Budget

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Property taxes could be going up in the city of Watertown.

City manager Sharon Addison presented some numbers to city council Tuesday night for them to consider as a new budget is put together for 2013-2014.
 
The big number is $41 million and change. That's a 6 percent increase over the current year's $39 million budget.
 
Addison says it's not bare bones and allows the city to take care of some key projects.
 
"We didn't know how it would be received, but I think it was well received tonight," Addison said.
 
Revenue isn't enough to cover $41 million in spending, which means taxes could go up. Right now, the increase is projected at about 34 percent.
 
The biggest reason for the sharp tax hike is the proposed budget doesn't dip into the city's cash reserves like the current budget does. The 2012-2013 budget uses over $1.5 million from the city's fund balance.
 
Since the money isn't coming from the reserves, taxes are the only other revenue source.
 
As the preliminary budget stands now, if your house is assessed at $100,000, your property taxes could go up $250 a year.
 
But, that's not set in stone.
 
"I think it depends on the council's tolerance for appropriating fund balance in this upcoming fiscal year," Mayor Jeff Graham said.
 
"They certainly have the ability to mitigate that, but whether they think that's too risky or not is up to them," he said.
 
Tuesday night was a chance for council members to get a first look at the budget.
 
They'll come back with suggestions and requests for the city manager before she prepares a final proposed budget.
 
"For getting the council working off the same bit of information, this was a useful session," Graham said.
 
Addison says she expects to have a proposed budget ready sometime in April.
Friday, November 28, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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