TAX BOOST LESS THAN PROJECTED

Proposed Troy property tax increase comes in under projections

KENNETH C. CROWE II STAFF WRITER
Section: Capital Region,  Page: B5

Date: Wednesday, October 13, 2010

TROY -- The city's proposed 2011 property tax hike will be smaller than originally projected, Mayor Harry Tutunjian informed the City Council on Tuesday.


Tutunjian said the projected tax increase for city homeowners is 4.3 percent, which is less than the original projected 5.5 percent increase in the city's preliminary 2011 budget of $63.89 million.


The lower tax increase cuts the proposed tax rate by 90 cents to $77.86 per $1,000 of assessed valued down from the original projection of $78.76 per $1,000 of assessed value. The current tax rate is $74.65 per $1,000.


"We have received bills from the Office of the State Comptroller showing we overestimate our combined pension bills," Tutunjian wrote in a memo addressed to City Council President Clement Campana.


"This has allowed us to amortize approximately $226,000 more in our combined pension obligations while removing this amount from the proposed budget. It represents a reduction in our proposed tax increase of approximately 1.2 percent," Tutunjian continued.


Campana said Tutunjian's memo was good news.


"We're looking to do whatever we can to get it as low as we can. It's a situation where less is better," Campana said.


The City Council's committees begin their budget review next week. The committees are expected to search for additional spending cuts that will lead to a further reduction in the proposed tax increase.


Tutunjian said his administration will continue to search for ways to further reduce the now-projected 4.3 percent tax increase.


Campana said each $180,000 cut in spending produces a 1 percent decline in the tax increase. He said he believes the council will be able to find places in the proposed budget to save money.


The council has pledged a bipartisan approach to its budget reviews.


The Democrats control seven council seats, while the Republicans hold the remaining two seats.


The city's budget must pass muster with the state comptroller's office, which reviews the city's annual spending place because of the city's financial crisis in the 1990s.


The city continues to pay off $52.29 million in debt associated with restoring its fiscal health.


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Troy tax hike dips