By David Prenatt
RIPLEY - Ripley Town Council gave final approval Thursday, Nov. 14, to a 2014 budget that will result in a 3.9 percent increase in property taxes.
The budget had been presented at a public hearing on Nov. 7. At that time the council also approved a resolution overriding the state-mandated 2 percent tax cap in order to pass the budget.
The increase translates into roughly .27 cents per thousand dollars of assessed value, said supervisor Doug Bowen.
The budget of $2,183,891 included an increased expenditure of $13,222 from the general fund. Highway expenditures were expected to increase by $13,984.
In other business, the council approved a resolution to reflect required changes in the Affordable Care Act. The resolution provides increased incentives for employees to opt for a buy-out. The employee share of the health insurance cost will be $1 per pay for an individual; 25 percent of total cost for employee and child; 22 percent for employee and spouse; and 15 percent of total cost for a family. The amount offered to the employees who opt for the buy-out will be $3,500 per year.
Bowen reported to the council that the town is waiting for bid specifications and estimates before renovations to the space being leased from Ripley Central School District can proceed.
The lease allows the town to begin moving its offices to the school property in December. However, Bowen said he wants to be sure of what renovations must be accomplished before proceeding. "The last thing we want to have in this process is a 'change of orders,'" he said.