The St. Johnsville Village Board of Trustees Tuesday evening voted to adopt a 2013 – 2014 budget that does not include a tax increase for residents.
“Everyone worked hard to keep the budget as low as possible, and we were able to come up with a budget that does not increase property taxes for residents,” said Mayor Bernard Barnes. “We always try to do the best we can, and I believe this budget is the best the village could do. It does not increase property taxes and it maintains services.”
In order to keep the property tax rate the same, and to offset a $36,619 increase in general fund expenditures, village Clerk and Treasurer Karen Crouse previously said the village would use $86,836.67 in unappropriated fund balance to balance the budget.
She also said the $1,183,020 general fund budget includes the loss of $7,687.29 in revenue due to a $179,400 loss in property assessments, and a $10,226 increase in state retirement system contributions. The contributions, she said, include a $5,506 increase for the village police department and a $4,720 increase for other local departments.
Crouse also said the budget includes an increase of $2,700 in liability insurance for the village and the volunteer fire department, and a $10,292 increase in health insurance.
Under the adopted budget, village property owners will continue to pay a tax rate of $42.85 per thousand of assessed valuation. The total tax levy is $645,885.33.
“The budget leaves the village in a good financial position,” said Barnes.
It was previously announced the water fund budget for 2013 – 2014 is $239,052, with $22,962 from fund balance, and the sewer budget is $298,233, with $29,733 from fund balance. The cemetery budget is $47,376, with $12,175 from fund balance.
In other business Tuesday evening, the board of trustees scheduled a special meeting for Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Community House to make a final decision on the re-appointment of Tom Malley as chief of the St. Johnsville Volunteer Fire Department.
Members of the fire department, ladies’ auxiliary, fire council and community came out in support of Malley’s appointment to a third term just as they did during last week’s special meeting. Barnes said the matter would be addressed in a “timely fashion.”
“The entire board is happy with the fire department, but there are some issues that have been on the table since March of last year that need to be resolved,” he said Tuesday evening, adding the village board and the fire council have met and will continue to meet to discuss how to address 21 recommendations made by the village’s insurance agency.
The recommendations, he said, include “critical” measures and simple policy adoptions.
“The village board has until June 1 to implement the recommendations that were made, and with the help of the fire council I am sure the matter will be resolved,” said Barnes.
Page 2 of 2 - “The sooner we can get this resolved the better,” first assistant Chief Myra Rodriguez said during the meeting. “The department wants to keep working with the village.”
The board of trustees did not provide a reason as to why Malley’s re-appointment was not approved, but Barnes did say the appointment of a chief and the need to implement the recommendations made by the village’s insurance agency are separate issues.
“The board has an obligation to do what’s in the best interest of the fire department and each and every taxpayer of this village, and that is how we are approaching this,” he said.
The board approved the fire department’s request to use Soldiers and Sailors Park from Aug. 12 to Aug. 24 for the annual firemen’s fair.