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Cape town justices to get 21 percent pay raise

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CAPE VINCENT — The town’s two justices will receive a generous 21 percent pay raise next year under Cape Vincent’s preliminary 2014 budget.

They will be paid $11,500 each next year, up $2,000 from $9,500 in 2013.

Supervisor Urban C. Hirschey said the Town Council felt it was fair to bring the judges’ salaries to the level of neighboring towns, many of which, unlike Cape Vincent, hire justice clerks to help them with paperwork.

Everyone else who works for the town will get a 2.5 percent pay bump.

The town supervisor’s 2014 salary will be $21,525 — up from $21,000 this year — and the four council members each will receive $3,381, up from $3,299.

The town clerk will be paid $33,825, up from $33,000, and the highway superintendent will receive $55,330, up from $53,980.

The change in the tax levy, which is the difference between expenses and income that a taxing entity needs to make up through property taxes, will be 1.6 percent — up from $220,900 in 2013 to $224,624 next year.

Cape Vincent’s town tax rate is dropping considerably — to 66 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, from $1 in 2013 — but only because assessments skyrocketed by a whopping 52.8 percent on average after the recent revaluation.

The total value of taxable properties in Cape Vincent went from $220,825,470 to $337,436,053, an overall increase of more than $110 million.

Taking this into consideration, if a Cape Vincent taxpayer with a property assessed at $100,000 in 2013 saw a 52.8 percent increase in assessment, that property owner would be paying about $32 more in town taxes next year.

Assuming the town adopts its 2014 budget as proposed, Cape Vincent’s total expenditures — including special districts — will be $3,023,645, up by a mere $1,488.

General spending is down by 2.6 percent, from $867,873 to $845,288 next year.

The Highway Department’s 2014 spending will total $1,111,729 — up by 2.1 percent or $23,876.

Cape Vincent is applying $64,668 of its fund balance to buy down next year’s levy. In 2012 it took out $55,430 from its “rainy day fund.”

Mr. Hirschey said he’s not sure how much would be left in the fund balance, but there should be enough for the town to pay its bills for four months in the event of an unforeseen crisis.

The Town Council will hold a public hearing on its proposed budget at 6 p.m. Nov. 7 at the Cape Vincent Recreation Park on James Street.

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