The Seneca Falls Town Board unanimously passed its 2024 budget with a total of $18.43 million, a notable increase from the previous year’s $16.5 million. This new budget introduces a first-time allocation of $177,000 for North Seneca Ambulance, with the possibility of Seneca County assuming future funding responsibilities for both North and South Seneca ambulances. The increase in the budget comes alongside a decrease in the tax levy, following a property revaluation conducted in 2023.
The 2024 budget reflects a lower tax rate, primarily due to the utilization of $751,000 from the tax stabilization fund. This fund, significantly supported by revenue from Seneca Meadows Inc. under a host benefits agreement, has enabled the reduction of the tax rate to $5.57 per $1,000 of assessed value. According to Town Manager Pete Soscia, this move aligns with a state audit recommendation to limit the tax stabilization fund to 10% of the operating budget. Consequently, the tax levy will decrease from $4.5 million to $3.8 million, despite the budget increase.
The budget adoption saw little public input or debate, with board member Steve Churchill humorously addressing a flyer campaign targeting him for supposedly favoring tax hikes. The board also approved a local law granting a 10% reduction in assessed property value for volunteer firefighters and ambulance personnel. Public comment included a suggestion by resident Paul Kelsey to use Seneca Meadows Inc. revenue to eliminate town taxes entirely, similar to how del Lago Resort & Casino revenue led to the abolition of property taxes in the town of Tyre.
The budget was finalized through three open workshops following the presentation of a tentative budget in October.
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