Village squeezes some raises from capped budget

CHATHAM–The Village Board approved the 2015-16 village budget of about $1.1 million at a special meeting on April 23.

The budget includes pay increases from part-time police officers and some town officials, and a new full-time position to be shared between the Department of Works (DPW) and the Sewer budget lines. Even with the pay increases and the purchase of new equipment for the DPW, the budget is under the nominal state cap of 2% on the property tax levy.

Mayor Tom Curran said the budget “shows a lot of investment in our community and our workforce.” He said all the departments put in requests and work together to create the budget. “They all understood we had a tax cap,” he said.

Village Clerk Barbara Henry passed out a sheet with the “highlights” of budget at the meeting and the board also put the budget, when it was a working budget, is on the village website, www.villageofchatham.com.

The budget must be submitted to the state by the end of April. The village financial year runs from June 1 through May 31.

The board also approved extending the six-month moratorium on major subdivisions and commercial or industrial use buildings in the village. The moratorium is in place as the village prepares to adopt an updated comprehensive plan, which was just reviewed by the county. Once the revised plan is approved by the Village Board and the village zoning laws must be reviewed to make sure they adhere to the guidelines established in the plan.

The Village Board still must hold a public hearing prior to voting on the comprehensive plan and only then can a committee can look at the zoning laws. “It’s a lot of work,” said Mayor Curran. He doesn’t expect the process will be finished within the next year.

The board first passed a moratorium like this one in a year and a half ago as the comprehensive plan committee started work on updating plan. The board created a new moratorium last summer after letting the old one expire in June.

Also at the meeting:

  • The board discussed a property at 81 Center Street. Village Code Enforcement Officer Walt Simonsmeier, who attended the meeting, said that he would give the property owner a figure for the square footage that needs to be cleaned up by certain date, or the village would clean up the property and include the cost of it in the owner’s property taxes. Mr. Simonsmeier said that doing the cleanup in stages, with set dates from the village, would mean “we got measurable results”
  • The board is reviewing sewer rates for residents on Harmon Heights Road. The residents, who are in the village, share a well but use the village sewer and have been charged a flat rate of $96 a quarter. The board is reviewing how to rate their sewer usage, since it is generally billed based on water use. The board also wants to determine why the basis for the current charge to those residents
  • The board approved spending $2,100 to replace spindles on gazebo in Depot Square that were vandalized over the winter. “It’s just a wreck,” said Trustee Lenore Packet. The board discussed installing security cameras at the gazebo. Ms. Packet said she’d asked the village police to keep “an eye on it.”

The next Chatham Village Board meeting is May 14. There will be a public hearing at 7 p.m. about putting a handicap parking space on Main Street. The board meeting will start immediately afterward.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

 

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