VALATIE–The Village Board is looking for a way to close a $30,000 gap in the general fund for the 2014-15 budget, which takes effect June 1 but must be submitted to the state at the beginning of May.
Mayor Diane Argyle convened a special budget meeting Wednesday, March 19 to look at the numbers and come up with some cuts. She started the meeting by saying that the assessed value of property in the village had gone down by $2 million, which is less than it decreased last year, but it still means village government will receive less in tax revenue. She said that she kept most budget lines the same as they are in the current spending plan, which ends May 31.
The water budget deficit of $4,000 is a much smaller now though the mayor said that the board may have to raise the water rates, an action Village Clerk Melissa Martino-Morin said the village has been advised to take.
The news is better on for the village sewer, with the new budget anticipating that revenues will cover the costs of that system. Mayor Argyle said the board would try to lower sewer use rates and the unit charge that residents pay for debt service and maintenance of the sewer plant.
Board members looked over the numbers presented to them by the mayor and suggested that the mayor reduce all the budget lines under the General Fund by a small percentage across the board. “That’s the equitable way to do it,” said Trustee Frank Bevens.
There are some budget lines that are fixed, such as personal costs, but Mr. Bevens suggested the board reduce everywhere it can by 1% or ½ % to get to the $30,000.
“A lot of this we are shooting from the hip,” he said of the mayor’s numbers, which still need to be finalized. The board also doesn’t know the cost of repairs to the firehouse floor, which is sinking. An engineer is looking at it now and will report to the board.
There were also questions about capital project borrowing costs associated with bonds and bond anticipation notes.
Ms. Martino-Morin said that she and the mayor need to talk to the village water and sewer foreman about his budget lines and get firmer numbers for supplies and other costs.
The mayor also thinks there will be some money left over in this year’s budget that will be rolled over to the 2014-15 budget. With that money she hopes to create reserves for emergency repairs. Currently, the mayor said the village does not have reserves to cover water main breaks or road repairs.
As for using that money toward the shortfall in the new budget, the mayor said, “I’m really going to try to close this gap with what we have.”
The next budget meeting will be Thursday, March 26 at 6 p.m. The board will hold a public hearing on the budget in April and must submit the adopted 2014-15 budget to the state by May 1.
To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .