Valatie budget proposal holds line on tax rate

VALATIE–Mayor Diane Argyle presented the Village Board with a $1.7-million proposed budget for 2018-19 at a special meeting Wednesday, April 4. The mayor said the budget has the same tax rate as the current budget, so she said most residents in the village won’t see an increase in their village taxes.

Village budgets run from June through May, so this budget will start June 1 and cover village expenses and revenues through May 31, 2019. Mayor Argyle said that some properties in the village were recently reassessed and those property owners will see a change in their taxes.

In the proposed budget, which the board is scheduled to vote on at an April 10 meeting, general fund spending is set at $824,670; the water budget is $344,373; and sewer budget is $499,500.

Mayor Argyle said at a special meeting April 4 that she had only budgeted $10,000 in revenue from interest and late fees for overdue water bills even though the village as received $40,000 in fees so far this year. Trustee Larry Eleby pointed out that the village has been more aggressive in going after property owners who are late with payments of water and sewer bills.

The mayor said, “There won’t be much coming in” in the upcoming fiscal year after the recent bill collection effort because residents are now paying their bills on time. The village started shutting off water to residents who had not paid their bills this week as a way to get property owners to pay.

“We have to expand our customer base with the water and sewer,” the mayor said at the budget meeting, referring to the effort by the village to find residences outside of the village that can connect to the village municipal system.

The proposed budget also has funds for a deputy village clerk and for sidewalk repair in the village. Copies of the budget are available at the Village Clerk’s Office in the Martin H. Glynn Municipal Building.

One issue the Mayor wants to the trustees to consider is selling the leases on the cell towers in the village. Leases for use of the towers has been a source of yearly revenue for the village but the mayor thinks that selling them for one upfront fee will give the village board funding for major road and water main projects the village needs to do. “We are borrowing money right and left,” she said of construction projects.

Trustee Frank Bevens said he did not think the village should sell the leases, and said the county wanted to use one of the towers for the emergency 911 system. Trustee Angelo Nero asked for a written proposal from the mayor. “I’d like to see the figures, very honestly,” he said.

The next regular board meeting will be Tuesday, May 8 at 7 p.m. at the Glynn Building.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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