2014 Town Budget letter

Dear Hartford Taxpayer,

You will soon receive your 2014 Town and County Tax bill. This bill will show three separate property tax levies. They are; County levy, Hartford Town wide levy, and Hartford Fire Protection levy. These levies show the amount of money to be collected through Real Property taxes.

In 2011, after years of steady large increases, the Town tax levy was decreased by 15% from the year before. Since then, the increases have been very small. The 2012 Town tax levy was increased by 0.7%, and in 2013 Town tax levy was increase by 0.9%. This year the 2014 Town tax levy will have a 0.1% decrease over last year. These incremental increases are all well below the 2% Tax Cap. All in all, the 2014 Town levy is still down 13.5% from the high levy of 2010. Please see the graph on the back of this sheet.

It is important that your Town government works hard to keep expenses down as this directly relates to the Town tax levy. One only needs to look around Town at the increasing number of vacant homes to know the effect of a sluggish economy upon the town’s taxpayers.

Here is a brief summary Town activity for 2013;
• Code of Ethics adopted for the Town of Hartford government.
• The Town and the USPS cooperate to adjust the hours of operation for the Hartford Post Office in order to ensure it would remain open.
• Gilchrist Hill Rd hairpin turn removed.
• First ever Hartford E-Waste collection day provided at the Town Hall which coincided with the Town Wide Cleanup Day. Residents brought in 5 tons of electronics for recycling for free. This will be offered again this year as well.
• Washington County sells its 485 acre parcel on Eldridge Lane which ends the 20 plus years of fear about a possible County landfill. This was a direct result of steady and effective pressure from the Town towards the County.
• Renegotiate contracts with the Hartford Volunteer Fire Company and Argyle EMS, extending the contracts to 5 years which will help to provide budget stability for the Town.
• Adopted a policy to conduct sex offender background checks on all adults assisting with Hartford Youth Commission programs. Even though this is a small town, you can never be too careful.
• In order to mitigate future flooding of the Youth Commission’s baseball diamonds and soccer fields located at the school, the Youth Commission’s volunteers worked to remove the meanders and debris from Big Creek to prevent it from jumping its banks in a storm and washing out the fields. All labor and machinery was provided by volunteers. This work would not have been possible without collaboration between the Town, the Youth Commission and the School District.
• Constructed a large salt storage shed behind the Town Hall to hold 300 tons of highway winter road salt. Constructed a smaller storage shed in front of the Town Hall to hold the sand/salt mix available as a courtesy to residents. Because both sheds were built on weekends by volunteers, they came in 50% under budget.

The Town Clerk’s office is in the process of providing the availability of a card swipe unit in order to accept credit card and debit card payments at the counter. This would cover all fees and payments for everything from fishing licenses to property taxes. You will still be able to pay using the traditional method of cash or check. Online credit card payment will also be available but this would only be for the payment of property taxes at www.xpress-pay.com.


Dana Haff – Hartford Town Supervisor