The Town of Amenia, like many other towns across the country, is grappling with the added expense of paid Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) and ambulance service. A line for that expense appears for the first time in Amenia’s tentative Budget presented by the Town Board on Nov. 3. It adds $310,00 to the town’s expenses. The total budget increase was whittled down by trimming other budget lines so taxpayers may only face a tax increase of $155,248.
Nevertheless, percentage wise, the tax increase is 21 per cent.
The Amenia Fire Company’s budget comes in at $271,000, $1,000 less than the current year.
The contract for EMT services covers the entire town, including Wassaic. Supervisor Victoria Perotti worked hard all year to alleviate the burden on Wassaic residents of the huge EMT tax in Wassaic by creating a town-wide ambulance district. She told us: “The Town of Amenia will be providing ambulance services border to border for the Amenia Fire District and the Wassaic Fire District through a contract with NDP for $310,000 effective January 1, 2017.”
The Amenia Town Board will hold a hold a budget hearing on Nov. 15 and is scheduled to vote on a final budget on Nov. 20.
Amenia’s 2017 Budget and tax outlook
The Town of Amenia’s 2017 budget increases $316,496, largely due to the town’s assumption of town wide ambulance services that will be contracted for at a cost of $310,000. That will save the taxpayers in the Wassaic Fire District $500,000 which is what they paid last year. The town is budgeting increases in fees from building permits ($200,000) and mortgage taxes ($80,000) due to Silo Ridge construction activity and will be drawing down $200,000 from its reserve funds to come up with a 2 percent reduction in the tax levy.
But the town tax is just part of the story. The town numbers do not include the Highway Department - $802,668 (except for $89,000 for the highway supervisor), the library – 95,000, water and lighting districts and the fire districts. The taxes to be raised to cover these expenses are close to historic levels.
The fire districts budget taxes of $272,700 for Amenia and $358,000 for Wassaic.
The full budget can be found at the town’s website http://www.ameniany.gov/government/tboard/town-board-minutes/2016/budget...
The Rail to Trail extension from the rail station at Wassaic to the hamlet of Wassaic is budgeted at $920,000 all of which is expected to be covered by state grants.