The motion to adopt the 2020 budget went down to the wire in the Town of Montgomery last Wednesday night. The town board adopted the budget unanimously on the day of the deadline as mandated by New York State Town Law.
Wednesday night’s discussion on the budget was relatively underwhelming when compared to the budget work session last Monday night. At that meeting, many funding increases were made in order to benefit the town.
Highlighting the changes that were adopted was the increase in the ambulance fund from $0 to $100,000. This came following public outcry for years, recommending that the budget for the ambulance corps be increased. The ambulance corps has been severely underfunded for years and this addition to the budget is welcomed.
Another vast change from the tentative budget was in regards to parks and recreation. The fund increased from $50,000 to $150,000. Montgomery has plenty of parks and plans to continue to maintain them with the larger budget. The town plans to update its computer system and changed the 2020 budget accordingly. $60,000 is in the budget for central communications, up significantly from $10,000 in the 2020 tentative budget.
An additional $15,000 will be allocated to the program for the aging fund. This will go towards the Village of Montgomery Senior Center. Councilman Mark Hoyt noted during the work session last Monday that the A Fund will increase seven cents/1,000, the B Fund will increase 11 cents/1,000 and the D Fund will increase 14 cents/1,000, resulting in the total tax bill for a home assessed at $250,000 within the villages to increase by approximately $17.50. The total tax bill for the same home outside one of the villages will increase by approximately $80.00.
In a budget teeming with increases, there were two major decreases. The police payroll is down $100,000. This payroll decreased by $70,000 for one new full-time police officer and decreased another $30,000 for front door security. The town’s state retirement fund was decreased $70,000 to $614,500 in the 2020 adopted budget. There are seven part-time police officers that were part of the New York State Retirement System, which the town will need to contribute for.
In 2020, there will be new additions to the Town of Montgomery’s budget and the town board itself. The board will feature a new town supervisor in Brian Maher and two new town council members in Ronald Feller and Kristen Brown. Each is ready to make an impact.
“I will work with our team to build on recent improvements as well as implement new ways to make town hall even more efficient,” Maher said. “I can’t wait to work with her [Kristen Brown], Ron [Feller], Shaun [Meres], Judge Fred Gorss and all of our current elected officials and town employees.”