CHATHAM – Barbara Henry was appointed village clerk/treasurer at a special Village Board meeting last week. The board also agreed to purchase two digital camera systems for police cars at a total cost of $9,240.
An hour prior to the Thursday, April 24 special meeting the board conducted its final workshop on the details of the proposed annual $1.1-million general fund budget plus the water/sewer budgets for the 2014-15 fiscal year. The spending plan, which reduces the total tax levy compared to the current village fiscal year, was later adopted unanimously by the board during the subsequent special session. The village fiscal year starts June 1.
At the meeting part-time clerk Kathy Burke formally resigned. She is taking a full time job and told the board she had enjoyed her time working in the village. Ms. Henry, who has been serving as treasurer for the village was appointed clerk/treasurer. The board has budgeted funds to hire a deputy clerk at $15 an hour for 30 hours a week. Ms. Henry stressed that the hours the clerk’s office would remain open on the same schedule after Ms. Burke left at the end of last week.
Ms. Henry told the board that she has already received two applications for the part-time position. The board plans to interview the candidates for deputy clerk and for another village position–part-time wastewater treatment operator– this week.
As for the cameras in the police cars, Mayor Tom Curran said of purchasing them, “I think they are a no-brainer.” The money to pay for the cameras will come from the Police Department budget.
The cameras can constantly record as long as the police car is running with images downloaded to secure system at the police station and kept for a predetermined amount of time. If the officer in the car switches on a siren or drives the car at a certain high speed, the camera marks that part of the recording for later use. Officers wear microphones to record sound. Sergeant Joe Alessi said that the cameras have about a six-year life.
Sergeant Alessi told The Columbia Paper that having a camera in the car contributes to officer safety as well as helping with criminal investigations. He pointed out that people have cameras on their phones now. “The other side has a camera, why do the police not have cameras?” he said.
One camera will be installed in the new police car the board recently approved buying for the police force and one will be in the older police car currently in use.
The next regular meeting will be Thursday, May 8 at 7 p.m. in Tracy Memorial.
To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email
Chatham budget at a glance
THE CHATHAM VILLAGE BOARD conducted a last review of the proposed budget at a special workshop session Thursday, April 24 before unanimously adopting the plan.
•The general fund budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year, which begins June 1, is $1,106,018 (water and sewer service are separate). Last year the board adopted a general fund budget of $1,141,780, so spending is down by $35,771
•The amount to be raised by taxes (tax levy) for the general fund is $621,875. The current budget levy is $660,714, so the tax levy in the new fiscal year is $38,839 lower than what taxpayers paid this fiscal year
•The tax rate per thousand dollars of assessed value is different depending on where the property is in the village. Property owners who live in the part of the village in the Town of Ghent will pay a tax rate of $5.23. Village taxpayers in the town of Chatham will pay a rate of $6.38.
The difference arises from a complex set of causes. First, the village no longer employs its own assessor, so village properties in the Town of Ghent are assessed by that town, and the Town of Chatham assesses the village properties within its boundaries. Each town has a different equalization rate set by the state. Chatham is at 82% and Ghent is at 100%.
Mayor Tom Curran said at the workshop that village officials had checked the town tax apportionment formula with with Tom Chudy, the business administrator for the Chatham Central School District
•The mayor said predicting the revenue and the cost to taxpayers of the water and sewer districts was difficult this year because the village plans to begin soon to charge for actual water use. That should generate more revenue but residents and business will have an incentive to conserve water because that will save them money
•Mr. Curran also said that while cuts were made this year, further reductions in spending in the future would involve cuts in services to the public. –Parry Teasdale