Clifton Park Town Supervisor Phil Barrett has released the 2021 Town of Clifton Park Tentative Budget. The proposed budget will ensure another year of no Town of Clifton Park General Fund Property Tax. The Town spending plan does not exceed the New York State Tax Cap. No fund balance monies were used to balance the budget.
The General Fund totals $18,081,131which accounts for a $177,691 decrease from the 2020 Adopted Budget. The Town will remain without a General Fund Property Tax in 2021, which is very rare for a municipality of our size. The Highway Fund budget for 2021 is $5,747,003 which is a 1% decrease over the 2020 Adopted Budget. The Highway Fund Tax is proposed to remain flat at 30.82 cents/thousand of assessed value. For a home valued at $259,000, the total 2021 Highway Tax will total $41. The budget includes additional money for paving when compared to the 2020 Adopted Budget, ensuring the total allocated for this important segment of Town operations is just shy of $1.1mm. The Town continues to invest in vehicles and equipment annually to ensure personnel is equipped to handle daily tasks and respond to timely situations. For comparison purposes, the Highway Tax was 87 cents/thousand of assessed value in the year 2000 making the 2020 Highway Tax much lower than 20 years ago.
The EMS Tax Rate will increase from 25.19 cents/thousand of assessed value to 27.48 in 2021. The EMS Tax Rate has held steady in recent years due to the burgeoning healthcare industry in Clifton Park and an expanding commercial tax base. For comparison purposes the EMS Tax Rate in 2000 was 26 cents/thousand or slightly lower 20 years ago.
The 2021 budget continues the Town’s strong commitment to maintaining and improving its infrastructure. Other areas of the budget with significant spending levels relate to healthcare, equipment, vehicles, recreational venue upgrades and other important investments.
The Town has continued to maintain overall cost control in Hospital, Medical and Dental benefits expenses for Town employees. This expense line is flat when compared to 2020.
In addition to investments in vehicles, equipment, trails, parks and other important areas, the 2021 budget includes funds for a new phone system.
The 2021 budget process will be a continuation of how our team operates on a daily basis. We are continually analyzing operations for areas of opportunity leading to increased efficiency and expense reductions. 2020 has been an extremely challenging year for operations and revenues for private and public organizations. The Town of Clifton Park is consistently working to reduce expenses and become more efficient. The Town’s strong fiscal position was highlighted by the bond rating upgrade by Moody’s Investor’s Service in 2019. Moody’s cited Clifton Park’s “low debt level, strong reserve position and management’s proven history of conservative budgeting practices,” as positive factors that led to the upgrade from Aa2 to Aa1. The Town also registered a superior score for the New York State Comptroller’s Fiscal Stress Monitoring test results, which were released recently. The Town’s tax base has now surpassed $5.3 billion.
However, a solid financial standing can quickly turn in a negative direction. “We have experienced other difficult economic periods of time over the last twenty years, such as following 9/11, the housing crisis and periodic recessionary conditions,” said Town Supervisor Phil Barrett. “Through these difficult circumstances and the challenges posed in 2020, the Town of Clifton Park continues to maintain a strong fiscal position.”
Pending personnel changes due to retirement and ongoing discussions with partner organizations, will present some decisions for the future of Town departments.
“Everyone wants low taxes with a positive outlook, well-funded schools, important services close to home, plentiful parks and recreational facilities and superior programs and activities for people of all ages,” said Supervisor Barrett. “Growing our commercial tax base through valuable redevelopment projects and “conservative budgeting practices” as described by Moody’s, has placed the Town in a position to navigate difficult economic conditions and provide stability for the residents of Clifton Park.”