2012 Town of Hartford Budget Letter

Dear Hartford Taxpayer,


                By this point all taxpayers should have received the 2012 Town and County Tax bill showing the three separate tax levies listed for County, Town, and Fire Protection.


                The Levy is the amount of money to be collected through Real Property taxes.  When you pay your taxes, it is divided and dispersed to three separate entities. These entities are; County, Town, and Hartford Volunteer Fire Co.


This letter will address the taxes that you pay towards the Town only. 


Last year the Town Tax Levy was decreased by 15% from the year before.  This year’s Town Tax Levy has increased by 0.7% which is well below the new 2% Tax Cap.  All in all, we are still down 14.3% from the levy of 2010. 


It is my drive to make the 2010 Town Tax Levy the highest Town taxes that you will have paid for many years into the future.  My goal is to be fiscally conservative and remain below that 2010 amount for as long as we can.  The 2010 Town Tax Levy was $885,025.  This year’s 2012 Town Tax Levy is $757,458 which is $127,567 less than the amount of Town Taxes collected in 2010.  In fact, if you refer to the reverse side of this page, you will see that the 2012 Town Tax Levy is very close to the 2008 Town Tax Levy.  


This year’s Town Budget saw a 9% increase in the Health Care Insurance provided to the Town’s full time employees, an 18% mandated increase into the NYS Retirement fund, and a 100% increase in the fee that the Town pays into the Worker’s Compensation Pool Fund to cover injuries to Town Workers.  Even with all of these increases, we were able to keep the increase in Town Taxes to just 0.7%.


One change in this year’s budget is that the Town has created three separate bank accounts for; Vehicle Replacement Fund, Building Capital Improvement Fund, and Museum/Civil War Enlistment Center Capital Improvement Fund.  By making these separate dedicated accounts, money put into them will be harder to sweep up and spend elsewhere.  This is like a savings account for specific items and will allow the money to accumulate incrementally each budget year so that next time the town needs to replace a snowplow truck or make an improvement to the building we will not have to borrow the entire amount. The Vehicle Replacement Fund so far has $35,000 in it, the Building Capital Improvement Fund has $5,000, and the Museum Fund has $15,500.


The money placed into the Museum Enlistment Center account will allow the Hartford Historical Society to leverage that money and qualify for grants to help preserve the last remaining Civil War Enlistment Center in New York State.  The Town of Hartford owns the property and buildings of the Museum/Enlistment Center while the Hartford Historical Society acts as Stewards of the property.  Not only does the Hartford Historical Society act as Stewards of the property but they also fundraise and spend their own money to help maintain the Town’s property which is much appreciated by the Town.   


The Town of Hartford Government will work hard this year to keep spending down.  The worse thing to see in the Town is the increasing amount of vacant homes where the owners had to just walk away because they could no longer afford to live in the Town, County or State.  It is important that your Town Government work to keep expenses down and your Town tax burden as low as possible.

Regards,  Dana Haff – Town of Hartford Supervisor