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Novel coronavirus cited in revenue loss in Hanover

HANOVER — Elmar Keifer, Hanover town accountant, presented the now-adopted budget for the year 2021 at the Hanover Town Board meeting recently.

Before even beginning his presentation of the budget, Keifer explained that this year’s budget process was especially challenging, due to many factors that all boil down to the current pandemic of COVID-19.

“I’ve done budgets for over 40 years and with COVID-19 I can definitely say this has been the biggest challenge that not only myself, but this whole board has had to go through,” Keifer said. “Usually we don’t have as many meetings as we did this year. This year we had to have extra meetings to go through everything and try to figure out how to put together a budget with so many unknowns.”

The pandemic hit the town especially hard in the revenue area. Keifer explained that revenues dropped tremendously due to the virus, reporting around $165,000 of revenue loss when they had a budget in place expecting those revenues to be there. He expects this revenue loss to double by the end of next year. On top of this loss, there were more expenditures that were not originally budgeted for this past year including repairing highway equipment, which came to about $80,000 over budget alone.

The solution for these issues is in the budget for next year, 2021. Keifer presented a preliminary budget to the town that increased taxes by a bit and lowered expenditures a lot.

The town is raising the tax levy by 3.7% for 2021 and decreasing the expenditures by about $32,000 in 2021 compared to this year.

“This will give us a little bit above the cap and give us an extra $42,000 that we wouldn’t get if we didn’t go over the cap,” Keifer said. “When you’re looking at a 3.7% levy increase, depending on what special districts you’re in, could run from 10 to 15 dollars in total for one household. Even though we’re going up more than we have in the past, we’re still only looking at a $10 to $15 increase for homeowners.”

Following a public hearing, the preliminary budget was adopted for the year 2021 in Hanover.

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