AuSABLE FORKS - The Jay town board passed what's being described as a win-win budget last week.
The board voted unanimously to adopt the 2013 budget at a special meeting on Thursday. The board originally planned to consider two budget options: one that would exceed the state's 2 percent tax cap by entering into a contract with the AuSable Forks Ambulance Squad to provide round-the-clock rescue coverage, and another that would meet the tax cap without the new ambulance contract.
Jay town Supervisor Randy Douglas said in a press release that the board ended up going with a third option that was negotiated between the town and the rescue squad. It would decrease the cost of the ambulance contract from about $54,600 to approximately $28,100.
Douglas said the savings were found after ambulance Chief Bill Minogue and town attorney Dan Manning reviewed insurance recovery funds.
"The Town of Jay was able to adopt the 2013 Budget under the allowable tax cap and provide 24/7 coverage to our people; a win/win for everyone," Douglas wrote.
The budget adopted last week increases the tax levy by 2.9 percent, which falls under the town's calculated tax levy limit.
"I want to thank our Town Board, Budget Officer, (Department of Public Works) Director, employees and the (AuSable) Forks Ambulance Service for understanding the emotional and financial situation (Tropical Storm) Irene left us in and for all their efforts to make our Town a better place," Douglas wrote.
"I am very proud of our employees. They have had to work under some dangerous conditions during Tropical Storm Irene, but did so in a safe manner. While the Town of Jay's participation in the Essex County Workers Comp consortium helped us save money in this year's budget, our minimal comp cases cut our costs by approximately $7,000, since 50% of our costs are based on ratings and claims."
The Essex County town of Jay and the Clinton County town of Black Brook have a contract with the AuSable Forks Ambulance Squad to provide service to both towns, which divide the hamlet of AuSable Forks. The cost is based on the percentage of the total assessed values of each town, Douglas said, so each year the cost to the towns vary. In 2013, Jay will be responsible for 64 percent of the contract while Black Brook will pay 36 percent.
In 2012, the Jay tax rate for the ambulance service was 36 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, or $36 per year for a home assessed at $100,000. The ambulance tax rate will be 47 cents per $1,000 in 2013.