New mayor eyes old budget

VALATIE–The Village Board held a special meeting Tuesday evening, April 16 to discuss a proposed $1.5-million budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year, which starts for villages on June 1. Though the proposed budget increase is slight–the 2012-13 budget was $1.4 million–newly elected Mayor Diane Argyle said that the assessed value of properties in the village had dropped about $8 million, leaving the village with a $26,000 shortfall to make up for in this year’s budget.

Mayor Argyle, who was elected late last month along with new board member Frank Bevens, reviewed the budget with newly appointed board member Angelo Nero as well as board member Amy Frienberg-Trufas and Village Clerk Melissa Martino-Morin at the April 16 meeting.

A major new expense in the budget for the village is the Martin H. Glynn School building. The village and the Town of Kinderhook plan to move their municipal offices into the building later this month along with the town court and a county Sheriff’s Office substation.

Mayor Argyle said the village will pay 38% of the costs for the building while the town will cover 62%. She has budgeted $60,000 on the “Buildings” line of the proposed budget. “We’re just guessing what things would be,” the mayor said at the meeting, adding she has not heard back from the town about the expenses.

Mayor Argyle also talked about expenses shown on the water and sewer budget lines. At the last meeting of the former board at the end of March, the contract with VRI was renewed for water and sewer plant operations for $109,000. Mayor Argyle pointed out several times that the former plant manager was still getting paid and getting benefits.

The contractors were brought on in 2011 and an issue over the pay for the plant manager is still in arbitration, according the mayor. “The big hit is the contract with water and sewer,” said Mayor Argyle. She added that she hopes that will change once the new, more efficient sewer plant opens later this spring.

She also said the village would see higher water and sewer revenues when the senior apartments on Route 203 open in the coming months and the several properties in the Village of Kinderhook connect to the sewer plant.

The board still needs to discuss a few issues in the budget before adopting it by the May deadline. One village resident brought up the $65,000 in rental fees the village receives for cell phone antennas on the water towers. He thought the money should be moved to the water budget and not put in the general fund.

Mayor Argyle said that currently the general fund and the water and sewer funds have all been kept in the same account and that she plans to separate them starting in June. She said she would check with the accountant about moving the rental fees and the board will discuss it further.

The board plans to meet for another budget workshop Tuesday, April 23. She also announced there will be an information meeting Monday, April 22 with Kenneth Flood, commissioner of the Planning and Economic Development for the county, to discuss the loans made to the village by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. Both meetings will be at 7 p.m. at the Martin H. Glynn School building on Church Street.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .



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