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New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, May 6, 2010

Maintains services
Village adopts $2M budget, up $40K from last year

By Jo E. Prout

VOORHEESVILLE — Village taxes continued an incremental rise with the board’s adoption last week of a $1.975 million budget. The 2-percent increase will raise the tax rate a nickel to $1.10 per $1,000 of assessed value.

Last year’s budget was $1,933,643. The new budget of $1,975,195 maintains all previous services, according to the budget officer, village Trustee David Cardona.

“We were faced with a lot of challenges,” Cardona told The Enterprise. He said that reduced sales-tax revenue affected the budget, as did the lack of new water users’ fees when the new users did not materialize.

“To provide the same services and have close to a balanced budget was fantastic. We’re going to keep our eye on the sales tax and see where it goes,” Cardona said.

Roughly $800,000 in county sales tax revenue is used by the village to balance its books each year, but the revenues have slumped in the past two years.

“If it reduces much more, we’re going to have to start cutting back. We were able to make it this year,” Cardona said.

“We did do a 2-percent cost-of-living [increase] for employees,” he said. “We could make it work, and we have no idea what next year will bring,” he said, adding that the economy could continue a downward trend. “We did it now,” he said.

According to village Clerk-Treasurer Linda Pasquali, Judge Kenneth Connolly waived an increase. Connolly is paid a salary of $10,154. He has served as village justice for a quarter of a century.

The mayor receives a $13,320 salary, and each of the four trustees receive about $5,800 per year. The salary of the village attorney is $13,720.

The village eliminated $3,000 from the budget by creating electronic, instead of printed, newsletters.

“Save a couple trees, and a couple dollars,” quipped Mayor Robert Conway at the April board meeting.

Asked if $70,000 for village lighting were correct, Cardona told The Enterprise, “The more light, the safer the sidewalks are. So many people walk around the village.”

Like the lighting, the summer recreation program also remains intact.

“I think we’ve got a good budget,” Cardona said at the meeting. He told The Enterprise, “The village office did a great job preparing the budget. I’m very proud of it.”

Other business

In other business, the village board:

— Heard from Cardona that Frank Crisafulli will run the recreation program’s over-40 league. Cardona said that local parents are interested in revitalizing the skate park;

— Heard from Trustee William Hotaling that the planning commission gave J.J. Cillis permission for 11 additional homes at the subdivision at Crow Ridge Road and Helderberg Parkway.

Conway said that Cillis had requested access to the village water system, but that the system is “maxed out.”

“There is some wiggle room,” Conway said, “but not for 11 more houses.

Conway said that, if Cillis’s subdivision joins with another nearby subdivision, the expense to upgrade the water system could be combined between them. The cost, however, is roughly $750,000, he said.

“That’s big money,” Cardona said;

— Learned from Trustee John J. Stevens that Robert Mudge resigned from the Conservation Advisory Council.

“He started it,” Hotaling said.

“He’s been a real pleasure to work with,” Stevens said;

— Learned from Department of Public Works Superintendent Will Smith that the DPW purchased a $400 generator from the state’s Office of General Services department surplus program.

The generator replaces one of World War II vintage, Smith said, and is powerful enough “for the DPW garage to run in an emergency”;

— Agreed to allow a Picard Road residence access to the village water system once back fees owed to the village have been paid. The cost of new infrastructure to connect to the system and a $1,500 connection fee will also be required of the residence, Conway said. The connection needs Albany County DPW approval, Smith said; and

— Agreed to hold a public hearing on a sewer easement at its May 12 workshop, beginning at 6 p.m.

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