Village adopts $1.2M budget, rates stay flat

ALTAMONT — The village board adopted a $1.12 million budget Tuesday for its general fund, an increase over last year’s $1.08 million budget. However, taxes will not rise, thanks to both changes in health-care premiums and employee turnover.

“This budget does not increase village taxes,” Mayor James Gaughan told the board at the public hearing for the budget this week.

“Good!” said Trustee William Aylward.

“It certainly meets the [state-set] tax cap,” Gaughan said. “The tax rate should be the same as last year.”

The tax rate for village residents will remain at $2.79 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

The 2014-15 budget includes a 3-percent salary increase for village employees. Zoning board of appeals and planning board members will receive stipends for the first time, under the new budget.

Each chairperson will receive $40 per meeting, and committee members will receive $20 per meeting, Gaughan said.

“It was important to acknowledge the volunteer work of our members,” Gaughan said, calling the stipends “token” payments.

Altamont Treasurer Catherine Hasbrouck told The Enterprise that the zoning board meets three times per year, and the planning board meets about 10 times per year.

The stipends will affect the zoning board budget with an increase of roughly $500. The planning board budget saw an increase of $1,300.

Gaughan attributed flexibility in the budget to staff changes.

“We lost older staff at a higher rate, and hired younger staff at a lower rate,” he said.

Part of the staff changes included Jeffrey Moller replacing Timothy McIntyre as the superintendent of public works last April. The board also promoted Larry Adams from chief water operator to assistant superintendent last year.

Gaughan said that health-insurance premiums went down this year; the board voted at its regular meeting to continue to use CDPHP health insurance.

The sewer fund increased by $9,500 to $570,067. The water fund decreased by $2,000 to $450,994.

No members of the public spoke during the public hearing, and the board swiftly adopted the budget after the hearing closed.

Other business

In other business, the village board:

— Approved two applications for junior firefighters, between the ages of 15 and 18 years old, and one adult firefighter;

— Approved a request by the Altamont Elementary PTA to hold its annual garage sale May 3 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and

— Agreed to allow the Altamont Fire Department to participate in the garage sale, and to attend the Boyd Hilton Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7062 Loyalty Day on the same day.

More Guilderland News

An elderly woman crossed over the double yellow line on Route 155 Sunday, causing a two-car crash that sent both her and the other driver to Albany Med. The other driver was Joseph Cotazino, 61, a well-known figure in Voorheesville, who is the leader of the Orchard Park Neighborhood Association, which is very active in local charity work. Gladys Chamberlain, 78, also of Voorheesville, may have had a medical event before crashing head-on into Cotazino's vehicle, say officials from the sheriff's office. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

At its February 24 meeting, the Guilderland planning board heard an appeal by Michael Arduini, who wants to add a seasonal deck at the Across the Street Pub on Western Avenue.

As snow fell Monday, a social worker’s car spun out of control on Route 155, killing her. Ashley C. Taheri was 55.