TOWN OF MANLIUS – Increases in wages are driving an expected rise in spending in the 2024 town of Manlius budget.
Last week, the Manlius Town Board held a brief public hearing on the town’s preliminary 2024 budget, which currently shows an estimated spending increase of about 7 percent. Councilor Elaine Denton, who made the budget presentation, said more work needs to be done to lower that increase before the final budget is adopted later this month.
At the heart of the increased spending are wage increases. The town is currently negotiating new contracts with the highway department employees and with the union representing the Town of Manlius Police Department officers that will take effect in 2024. The budget reflects the expected wage increases for unionized employees in those new contracts.
In addition, a pay equity study conducted in 2022 showed that many members of the town hall staff were underpaid, considering their experience and tenure with the town. Some of those adjustments were made in the 2023 budget and they continue in the 2024 budget.
“We’ve now gotten to the point where it is fair,” said Supervisor John Deer of wages at town hall. “Wages is one of the biggest increases you’re seeing in this budget.”
Police protection makes up about a third of the town’s spending plan. In 2024, the preliminary budget calls for the town to spend $8.91 million on policing.
The highway department, at $5.7 million, is the second largest cost, and fire and EMS services are the third largest expense, at $5.36 million.
Because of a 12 percent increase in the town’s overall assessment, the tax rate is expected to drop from $4.35 per thousand assessed value to $4.23 per thousand outside the villages. Inside the villages, the rate goes from $3.38 to $3.23.
The owner of a $200,000 property in 2023 paid $870 not including any special district costs. If the assessment on that property rose 12 percent to $224,000, the taxes on that property would rise to $947.
On Nov. 15, the board is expected to go over any changes made between the preliminary budget presented on Nov. 1 and the final budget for 2024, which is expected to be adopted that evening.