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Town Board passes next year’s 2022 preliminary budget, within tax cap

PINE PLAINS — The Pine Plains Town Board had a brief, but thoughtful discussion about next year’s funds after passing the 2022 preliminary budget at its meeting on Thursday, Oct. 21.

The board previewed the 2022 fiscal plan at its workshop meeting on Sept. 1; it passed the tentative 2022 budget in early October, according to town Supervisor Darrah Cloud, who summed up the budget review process in her weekly town newsletter of Oct. 22.

The Oct. 21 meeting began at 7 p.m., in person at Pine Plains Town Hall and was live streamed to the “Town of Pine Plains” YouTube channel, where it can now be viewed.

Under the agenda’s old business section, Cloud called for a motion to accept the preliminary budget. After the budget was passed, she mentioned she put a report explaining the budget’s fund balance in the board members’ inboxes. To clarify, she said the balance sheet the board was looking at during its meeting on Oct. 18 contained the figure for the fund balance that was at the end of the 2020 fiscal year.

Cloud explained that the fund balance figure never changes all year and continues to remain unchanged when the board appropriates that fund balance for a needed expense.

She further explained the town’s expenses are then counted against the fund balance figure in the town’s next audit, “so we know that we have that money and we know that the bonds are in there. We need a spreadsheet to say this is what we’re doing with this money,” Cloud noted, citing the funds directed toward the town’s park and the bond the town successfully paid off as examples.

The supervisor then mentioned she made a list of the items the board has already approved, such as appropriating the fund balance for the 2021 town budget.

In response to a board member’s question about leftover money, Cloud said there’s no leftover money since the town has appropriated it all. As board members discussed what was leftover from last year’s town budget minus what the town has spent, Cloud noted the town has six months of safety emergency money, which it is currently guarding.

A copy of the 2022 preliminary budget can be viewed online at www.pineplains-ny.gov. Now that the preliminary budget has been passed, Cloud said via her newsletter that the budget “can only be changed downward, meaning less money [may be spent], but not upward.”

She also noted with pride that the town did not exceed the tax cap again this year.

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