SARATOGA SPRINGS — The second Public Hearing regarding Saratoga Springs’ proposed 2023 budget was held Nov. 1 at City Hall. As was the case during the first public hearing, which was staged in mid-October, no one from the community stepped forward to be heard.
The city is proposing a $54.21 million spending plan in 2023, up slightly from $54.19 million plan in effect this year.
“We see our budget not just as a policy document for our city but also a road map and a moral compass for what our community prioritizes,” said city Finance Commissioner Minita Sanghvi. “Our primary goal when making this budget was to ensure there were no cuts to our excellent and much needed city services, as well as no layoffs of our city employees.”
During the City Council meeting Nov. 1, Commissioner Sanghvi provided a year-to-date collection report. “Our 2022 collection for Sales Tax stands at $11.6 million right now, our Mortgage Tax at $2.1 million, and our Occupancy Tax at $572,000 – these are very good numbers for 2022,” she said.
A “critical priority” in this year’s plan is budgeting for the city’s 3rd EMS/ Fire Station. The long-debated third station will serve residents of the city’s eastern plateau. Just over $7 million was bonded in 2022 for building the fire station and additional $1.4 million is slated to be bonded in 2023 for cost overages due to inflation and supply chain shortages.
Sanghvi said considering 8% inflation and the “once-in-a-generation undertaking of a EMS/ fire station,” the plan proposes a Real Property Tax increase from $6.43 to $6.67 for Inside District and from $6.37 to $6.61 for the Outside District - an average increase of 3.72%. That increase translates to the following: if a house is assessed at $200,000, owners will pay $4 per month more on their property tax, $6 per month more if assessed at $300,000, $8 per month more if assessed at $400,000.
Independent department budget workshops have been held through October. A budget must be finalized by Nov. 30.
“During the month of November, we will make final revisions and bring it to the City Council,” Sanghvi said.