Thursday, 05 October 2017 22:11

Malta Leaders Review Town Budget

MALTA – The Malta Town Board will spend the month of October reviewing a $10 million tentative budget plan unveiled this week, which calls for slightly less spending than the current fiscal year.

As the town’s official budget officer, Malta Supervisor Vincent DeLucia wrote in his summary that “a fiscally conservative budget” has been prepared “that funds core town responsibilities for road maintenance, fire protection, ambulance services, local courts, planning and code enforcement while staying below the state 2 percent tax cap and maintaining the town free of general town-wide property taxes.”   

At the Oct. 2 meeting, though, DeLucia praised the efforts of Malta Comptroller Kevin King and his dependable knowledge of the town’s numbers.

“Much of the credit goes to Kevin King,” the supervisor said.

The tentative budget calls for $10,009,215 in spending, less than the current level of $10.1 million. It can be viewed on the town website (http://www.malta-town.org).

The largest expenditures, according to DeLucia’s summary, are $7.4 million for the general costs of operating town government, including the Malta Highway Department and the service it provides for 77 “lane miles” of roadway. The “fire protection district” costs exceed $2 million.

DeLucia further indicated that an expense of $36,000 from “recreation mitigation fees” was necessary to cover debt incurred through development of the Malta Community Center on Route 9, but that the payment would not impact the town’s fund balance.

The tentative 2018 budget represents roughly $243 in property-tax spending per town resident, compared to $253 in 2017. Malta has a "general town tax levy" and additional levies for fire protection and the town library that total more than $420,000, the supervisor's summary states. 

According to King, Malta employs 43 people full time and an additional 27 people on a part time or seasonal basis.

DeLucia explained on Monday that employees in every town department have “really had to tuck it in” by cutting back on spending. Early last year, he said, the town was forced by severe inclement weather to incur extra costs, which in turn necessitated the elimination of several town positions.

Earlier this year, town officials were voicing concerns about the budget outlook in Malta due to an apparent decrease in sales tax revenues, which fund a large part of the town’s expenses. But King reported that, in recent months, “a big change in the allocation” of those revenues from Saratoga County made a noticeable difference.

“The economy is the driver, both locally and countywide,” he said.

King shared figures showing how the sales tax allocation in September alone surpassed $419,000, bringing the total revenue generated this year by purchases in Malta businesses to $2.8 million. In March the allocation was $336,000.    

DeLucia added that town board members will meet several times in the coming weeks with King and other department heads to discuss potential modifications to the tentative 2018 budget. He expects a final budget to be approved in November. 

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