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Fire hall expansion may lead to eight percent tax rate increase for village of Adams

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ADAMS — The village’s property tax rate could increase by 8 percent in 2013 to pay for an expansion of the village’s fire hall.

The rate increase being discussed comes as the new cost estimate for the work sits at $1,019,500, a total that does not include paving work or any site preparation.

The improvements are considered urgent due to the space limitations at its current facility.

The village, whose budget accounted for a $1 million cost for the new building without any tax increases, would need to raise tax rates to accommodate additional work that could push the price to $1.5 million.

“Are we doing ourselves any favors if we don’t plan for the extra?” said Trustee Keith S. Perry. He estimated a 7 or 8 percent increase to pay the additional costs.

The village Board of Trustees discussed the potential rate increase while reviewing a preliminary budget Monday night.

After the meeting, Mayor Patricia C. Sweetland said she predicted that the cost increase could be covered with a 5 percent increase spread over two years, before the new building payments started. She noted that without the additional cost for the fire hall work, the budget decreased 4 percent from the previous year.

The village’s current tax rate is $6.68 per $1,000 of assessed value. A 5 percent increase would put the rate at $7.01, while an 8 percent increase would mean a $7.23 rate.

A house valued at $50,000 would be taxed $350.50 with a 5 percent increase and $361.50 with an 8 percent increase, up from $334 now.

The board approved an override of the 2 percent tax levy increase cap in February.

Another meeting to discuss the budget is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday at the village office. A public hearing about the budget is scheduled for 5:45 p.m. April 8.

“If the public is that infuriated about it, we may have an interesting meeting on the eighth,” Mr. Perry said.

The board also discussed a letter sent in by Michael A. Treanor, owner of the Pinehurst Apartments, asking for a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement for the building he restored in 2006. In exchange, the letter states Mr. Treanor would build a new playground on the site and a scoreboard for the nearby baseball field.

Clerk and Treasurer Darlene Rexford told the board Mr. Treanor had $5,945.20 in unpaid taxes, and added that the building’s water bills have been rolled into its tax bill for three years in a row.

Trustee Brian C. Thomas said the move would have no financial benefit for the village.

The village and Mr. Treanor have bumped heads in the past on problems like the building’s sign and maintenance of its fence. Mr. Perry said meeting with Mr. Treanor about the PILOT agreement could lead to “frank conversations” about the building, which drew some support from other trustees.

“I don’t want to slam the door in his face,” said Trustee Nancy Murphy.

“I do,” Ms. Sweetland said, adding that making such an agreement could be like “opening a can of worms” with other property complex owners.

However, the board concluded its discussion on the letter by agreeing to set up a meeting with Mr. Treanor and Donald C. Alexander, chief executive officer of the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency.

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