The Skaneateles Village Board heard comments, questions and concerns from residents last Monday, April 12, when Mayor Bob Green presented the proposed budget for 2010-11.
The proposal shows a general fund budget of $3,054,000 and calls for $1,404,164 to be raised by taxes. The village’s projected revenue is $1,649, 836.
While the amount to be levied from taxes is more than $1 million, the good news for residents is there will be no sewer rate or property tax rate increase and only a 5 percent water rate increase.
“There’s not going to be a property tax increase this year,” Green said a few times throughout the budget hearing.
The taxable assessed value increased by $28 million this year, based on the town’s revaluation, which has enabled the village to retain its prior year’s tax rate of $3.49 per $1,000 assessed valuation.
“To maintain the tax rate, we aren’t replacing any equipment this year,” Green said, with the exception of a lawn mower for the cemetery.
The West Lake Street reconstruction project will move forward this summer and fall.
“We can’t defer another year,” Green said.
The project expense will be bonded with the first debt payment to be made in 2012. However, to free up village employees for the project, the board is bringing back two seasonal laborers to maintain Lake View Cemetery.
On the expense side, many of the village’s expenses are fixed — union-contracted labor rates, insurances and the village’s contribution to the state retirement system.
During budget preparation, the village has reduced the amount of county sales tax revenue substantially for the first quarter of 2011. According to Green, the village has projected revenue to include a partial payment of $76,000 for the first quarter.
Under the current sales tax agreement with Onondaga County, the village has received $456,000 as of Jan. 31 and is waiting to receive one more quarter.
Trustee Marty Hubbard said if the county knocks the village’s portion of sales tax revenue down by even a third it would wreak havoc on the municipality.
“No matter what they take away it’s going to cause problems,” Green said. “There will be no way to raise revenues.”
Instead, if the village’s portion is cut drastically the village will begin slashing expenses. If reductions exceed the sales tax revenue projections, the village would take a hard look at staffing levels and cutting services, Green said.
Resident Bill Mahood shared his concerns for revenue shortfalls due to sales tax and asked if there was a way the village could have a sinking fund to help in that case.
“Not without increasing taxes to put money into that fund,” Green said. “It’s hard to project an unknown. What the legislators are talking about now is a phased in approach.”
Clifford Abrams, a resident, questioned raising dock fees for Mid-Lakes Navigation and the number of police vehicles owned by the village. According to Attorney Mike Byrne, Mid-Lakes has a five-year contract with the village for its dock fees, which was last revised in 2007.
Where police vehicles are concerned, the village is in the process of selling its Crown Victoria.
Abrams also was at issue with the number of police officers employed by the village for patrol within village limits — approximately one-square-mile and 2,600 people.
“Seems like an awful lot of over protection,” Abrams said.
The board left the public hearing open and will continue taking comments from the public until its next meeting at 7 p.m. April 26. At that time the board expected to close the hearing and adopt the 2010-11 budget.
In other board news:
','MyWindow','toolbar=no,location=no,directories=no,status=yes,menubar=no,scrollbars=yes,resizable=no,width=280,height=160'); return false;"> The board approved a policy in support of tobacco free parks.
“We said we would follow the lead of the town because they run the park,” Green said.
Small signs urging park visitors to not smoke on the grounds will be placed on existing posts. No tickets will be issued or arrests will be made in conjunction with the policy.
','MyWindow','toolbar=no,location=no,directories=no,status=yes,menubar=no,scrollbars=yes,resizable=no,width=280,height=160'); return false;"> The three-way stop sign at Fennell and Kelley streets has brought about many complaints, Trustee Marc Angelillo said.
“Enough is enough,” he said regarding the signs. “People go through them.”
Angelillo called Local Law No. 3 of 2009, which called for the signs, “one of the most objectionable decisions the former board made.” Additionally, he requested a public hearing to rescind the local law.
A public hearing on Local Law No. 2 of 2010 to rescind Local Law No. 3 of 2009 will be held May 10 during the board’s regular meeting.
','MyWindow','toolbar=no,location=no,directories=no,status=yes,menubar=no,scrollbars=yes,resizable=no,width=280,height=160'); return false;"> The Skaneateles Police Department honored firefighters Bill Murphy and Todd Hall, who is also a local dispatcher, for their help on Aug. 4, 2009 when officer Bill Marventano requested assistance at a call. The call was for a loud music complaint, but got out of hand when an intoxicated participant began poking Marventano in the chest.
“Their presence helped to de-escalate the incident,” Police Chief Lloyd Perkins said of Murphy and Hall’s assistance.
Murphy and Hall each received a certificate of appreciation from the Skaneateles Police Department.
','MyWindow','toolbar=no,location=no,directories=no,status=yes,menubar=no,scrollbars=yes,resizable=no,width=280,height=160'); return false;"> Skaneateles Police Sgt. Marty Stevens has been awarded the Traffic and Safety award for 2009. Stevens is very active with the schools and within the community.