Town of Johnstown, 2020 year in review Vol. II
Taxes are always a major concern and the public should be aware of the taxation that is being applied to their assessment. During the 2021, budget process, the tax rate remained the same, at $2.69 during the review. The net total is separated between the General Fund and the Highway Fund. The tax rate is $1.05 and $1.64, respectively. The General Fund Balance will approximately be a $1.2 million at the turn of the year or closing of the 2020, books and the Highway Fund Balance will approximately be $85,000. But two new fleet trucks were purchased at the end of 2020 where the balance was used or needs to be removed and pushed back into the Highway Fund Balance. There should be a rollover to the Highway Fund Balance approximately around $85,000, positive.
In August, I proposed making a motion for the first of the year setting a range for both fund balances.
1. General Fund Balance $650 thousand minimum to a maximum of 1 million.
2. Highway Fund Balance $400 thousand minimum to a maximum of $600 thousand.
A ranged fund balance would allow for the rollover of taxation making less of an impact on taxation while a facial plan can be detailed. By utilizing a ranged fund balance there should be a drop in one taxation net total and the highway department must restructure and properly plan to reduce the taxation and build their fund balance to the range detailed while providing service. I have requested for the Highway Supervisor to reduce its taxation by 20 cents for 2022, and a reduction of 15 cents for 2023. The highway department must restructure and reduce cost, I believe it is possible. A reduction in General Fund taxation should be aligned with the sales tax where no future taxation would be required as long as there is plan proposed that details the need and the community improvements.
The town can no longer operate without a Capital Plan that details the proposed taxation, needs, funding, community improvements, insurance policies, union contracts, etc. This is a responsibility that the elected officials owe the community otherwise they should not tax the community. This written document has not been produced since my attendance as councilman, why because it holds accountability. I have argued this since being elected and taking Comptroller training classes. The community is owed this responsibility.