HANOVER - Discuss-ions of the 2013 budget were on the agenda for the Hanover Town Board Monday.
The town board met to hold two public hearings, the first for the preliminary budget and the second for the fire protection district contracts.
Town Budget Officer Elmar Kiefer highlighted the 2013 budget with a presentation.
OBSERVER Photo by Nicole Gugino
Hanover Supervisor Todd Johnson (left) listens as Town Attorney Jeffrey Passafaro (center) explains the legal side of the tax cap override law at the Hanover Town Board meeting Monday. Also pictured is Councilman Wayne Ashley.
He said the biggest change is that workers' compensation will now be levied by the towns, instead of by the county as it has been in past years.
For the town of Hanover, this translates to an increase of $61,000 in the levy. He explained this increase will be a wash for residents if the county decreases its budget proportionate to the amount the town must now collect.
However, he advised the public be diligent and stay aware of the county's budget.
"You have to keep an eye out at that level and let them know you know what's going on," he said.
Legislator Rod Rogers attended the meeting and said the county's preliminary budget will be open for comments at Wednesday's meeting. He also said he was told this change was recommended by the state to get towns in line with the way villages and cities are billed.
Kiefer reported to the board he is looking into the town's options for workers' comp, having contacted Evans Bank, but the change will have to be for next year (2014).
Kiefer also stressed this new increase only affects the town budget for one year, because it will not be a new expense, the levy will have already been expanded.
He said in addition to the workers' comp, other expenses that have increased for the town are retirement by $26,000, health insurance by an estimated $22,500 and the town included a 2 percent increase for full-time employees equating to $15,500.
Kiefer said these increases combined cost the town a total of $125,000, however the board was determined to keep taxes down and only raised the budget $40,000 or 1.5 percent and the $61,000 for the workers' comp or 2.3 percent.
He explained for an average assessment of $88,950, taxes will increase $3.56 for the town's budget increase and $5.34 for the workers' comp increase, a total of $8.90 not including special district costs.
"We passed the local law to override the tax cap because we knew this was coming and we had no choice but to go over," he added, explaining the town will not be penalized for going over the cap.
Town Attorney Jeffery Passafaro explained the state legislature left the option for the override up to the prudent judgment of local boards, but only allowed it to be effective for one year and the town has passed the law as a protection from penalty.
Supervisor Todd Johnson, in response to a question, said the town is planning for the possibility of the county passing down more charge backs to the town in the future. He also thanked the board and Kiefer for their hard work on the budget.
The town's 2013 preliminary budget is still available in the clerks office for public review.
The board also held a public hearing on the fire protection district contracts expiring in 2013.
The proposed renewal included: District 1 Forestville $31,660, District 2 Forestville $27,430 and Irving $52,757 for 2013 with a 1.5 percent increase for the two following years. Perrysburg's contract for one year was for $2,426.
These contracts were approved by the town board with Johnson abstaining and Councilman Fritz Seegert absent.
The town board will hold its next meeting Nov. 13 in observance of Veteran's Day.