POUND RIDGE — Residents would see a 3.4 percent tax increase under the town’s preliminary budget.
The proposal would spend roughly $7.1 million for the general and highway funds, a $146,003 decrease from 2010, according to a town budget synopsis.
While spending is going down, the town is also decreasing the amount of surplus it has set aside in 2011 to help pay for town operations.
The 2010 budget appropriated $850,000 in surplus, while in the proposed 2011 budget, the amount of surplus used would drop to $500,000, said Steve Conti, the Pound Ridge finance director. The town’s goal in the coming years is to lower its reliance on surplus to fund expenditures, Conti said.
“At $850,000 a year, the fund balance would be zero in three to four years,” Conti said.
There are number of areas where the town will save money next year. The departure of a retiring highway department employee, for example, will save the town about $90,000, Conti said. The budget plan also calls for a wage freeze for town employees.
But the town faces rising expenses in other areas. The cost of providing health care to employees is expected to go up by $32,000 in 2011 and town contributions to workers’ pensions will increase $51,000, Conti said.
Deputy Supervisor Jonathan Powers said that amid a challenging budget environment, town officials have been scouring the budget lines looking for savings.
“It’s a modest tax increase,” Powers said. “Because we haven’t laid off any employees, there’s no reduction in services to the town.”
The tax rate for the general and highway funds is $11.81 per $1,000 of assessed value. For the owner of a home assessed at $179,629, the town average, the annual tax bill would be $2,121.44, or $69.86 more than 2010.
While the tax rate to pay for the general and highway funds is on the rise, the amount residents will pay for the land reserve tax will go down in 2011.
That’s because the land reserve tax temporarily declines for the next two years under a ballot initiative , passed this month, that renews the open-space levy for an additional 10 years.
The open-space tax is typically $1 per $1,000 of assessed value, but in 2011 it will be 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.
The public hearing on the budget is scheduled for 8 p.m. Dec. 2 at the Town House, 179 Westchester Ave.