VALATIE–The Village Board approved a $1.7-million budget for 2016-17 at a special meeting April 27. But at the board’s regular meeting Tuesday, May 10, Mayor Diane Argyle said that the tax base numbers were wrong on the budget and that the amount had not gone up as much as the board thought.
In the budget adopted in April, the tax base was $111,163,940, but the real number is about $106 million, according to the mayor. That amount is only up $1 million from last year, not the roughly $5 million previously calculated.
With the new figures, the mayor said at the May 10 meeting, the taxes will go up about $27 on $100,000 of assessed value of property. According to the new documents, this year the amount of taxes paid per $1,000 of assessed value is now $4.03 and last year’s amount was $3.76.
According to the documents at the April meeting, there is 0.9% increase in this budget over the 2016 budget, in the general fund.
“We run a real tight ship,” said the mayor in April, warning that the village has retained very little in reserve funds in this budget. She said there is $11,000 set aside in a reserve fund for maintenance of the Martin H. Glynn Municipal Building, adding that utilities, heating and cleaning staff for the building cost $48,000 a year.
That amount is the share of expenses the village pays to keep the former school building open. The Village Board shares the building with the Town of Kinderhook government. Both municipalities house their offices there as well as the Town Court, a county Sheriff’s Office substation and a gym and classrooms that are used by community groups free of charge.
At the May meeting, the mayor talked about seeking bids to buy out the cell tower leases on the village water tower. Right now the board receives about $50,000 in rent for the use of the tower space on the water tank, but Mayor Argyle said if the village sells the towers to the cell phone providers, the village could receive $600,000 in revenue that could pay for repairs on the firehouse, and street and water main upgrades. As it is, the village will have to borrow the money to do those jobs this year.
She said the cost of all those repairs would be around $300,000, with some of the funds being reimbursed by the state.
“We pay $167,000 in debt, just in principal alone,” she said. She argued with the board that having the funds from the cell tower would help the village avoid more borrowing. “You have $600,000 sitting here,” she said of the towers.
But board members worried about losing the rent money that is applied to the budget. “I think when it’s gone, we’re going to be in big trouble,” said Trustee Frank Bevens.
Trustee Angelo Nero said that he wanted to see a spread sheet of the numbers with future predictions of how the village will continue if the rent payments end.
The mayor said that some of the village debt would be paid off in less than 10 years if the village doesn’t borrow more.
The board will look at getting bids for the cell towers. Board member David Williams said that looking at bids does not obligate the board to sell the towers. “I don’t know what the harm is just to look,” he said.
The village hosts Trash Day on Saturday, May 14. Village residents can put items out for curbside pickup that morning. A list of items that will not be picked up is on the village’s website at www.valatievillage.com. They include nothing containing liquids; paint or tar cans; solvents and thinners; lawn mowers, yard waste and brush; mattresses; and upholstered furniture.
The next regular Village Board meeting will be Tuesday, June 14 at 7 p.m.