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News

Village set to adopt new budget with tiny tax increase

Dan McClelland

by Dan McClelland
The village board members are expected to adopt the budget presented to them in recent weeks by Treasurer Mary Casagrain without major changes when the board meets next Wednesday for their regular monthly meeting.
The draft budget for 2017-18 fashioned by the treasurer, with input from village department heads, totals $2.83 million which will produce after a $75,000 in fund balance carried over from this year and $936,843 in anticipated revenues in the new budget which begins June 1 a tax levy of $1.893 million.
The village's allowable state tax cap levy limit in the new fiscal year is $1.928 million.
The levy in the proposed budget is only up by five-one hundredths of one percent and falls $35,348 below the tax cap for the next fiscal year.
The spending increase in the new budget is 1.9% but the tax rate will only increase by one-third of one percent or five-thousandths of a cent per $1,000 of assessed valuation on village property.
Pointing to the minuscule tax rate in prospect, Mayor Maroun figured no other municipality could match that mark in their budget preparations this year.
Following three relatively shortdepartment budget reviews last Wednesday after a public hearing on the plan was called at 5p.m. the four members of the board came close to adopting the plan as is, however, Mayor Paul Maroun asked his colleagues to set the financial document aside untilthefull board meeting on Wednesday, April 26 when Trustee Ron LaScala would be back from vacation.
Yesterday the mayor rescheduled tonight's regular session until next Wednesday to await the trustee's return so the full board could review the budget for a final time.
The following are the highlights in spending in the police, department of public works and fire departments reviewed by the board Wednesday.
Salaries for Chief Eric Proulx, his eight officers and two part-time officers ($39,000) will total $525,000 in the new budget.  There is $14,000 allocated for police equipment which includes one new taser, with officer training, for $3,850, a new body camera at $1,000 to replace one that was damaged and the installation of a repeater on the village water tank to improve local communications among the department and its officers at a price of $5,000.
Other department expenses include insurance, $22,000; clothing allowances, $6,350; car repairs, $8,000; dispatchers, $8,000; radio maintenance, $1,000; in-service training, $3,000; fuel for vehicles, $10,000; $2,000 in funding for the annual bike rodeo (up to now it has been 100% donations); office supplies, $10,000; ammunition, $2,000 and $3,500 for 50 new stop signsand pedestrian markers.
Chief Eric Proulx walked the board members through his department's budget.
Nick Rolley, the new first assistant chief with the Tupper Lake Fire Department, reviewed his department's proposed budget with the village leaders.
The department is jointly funded by the town and village governments.
Some of the expenses faced by the department in the fiscalyear that starts in June to render its life-saving services are the following: relief driver pay and custodial services- $7,730; safety supplies (cases of foam)- $750; safety gear (five new sets of turn-out gear at $2,200 each and five new traffic safety vests)- $11,175; two new Scott air packs and three new tanks, air sample test kits, alarm batteries- $19,400; 20 new sets of gloves and hoods, five new sets of boots and five new helmets- $5,050;  tools including flood lights and Halligan tools- $1,171; hoses and nozzles- $5,740; the replacement of three portable radios and radio repairs, $4,850; fuel- $3,500; truck repairs- $20,000, training (fire prevention supplies for school programs and mileage reimbursements for volunteers) $4,000; tests for air packs- $4,000 and relief driver uniforms- $200.
DPW Superintendent Bob Degrace next led the village leaders on a review of his department.
Major expenses in the village DPW forecast for 2017-18 are: salaries of Mr. DeGrace and his four employees- $217,920; overtime for summer construction projects- $12,000; miscellaneous pieces of small equipment including a post driver to redo many village signs this summer, $2,500; insurance- $9,000; fuel for DPW vehicles- $35,000; clothing allowances- $6,125; gravel- $20,000 (partially paid for by water and sewer department for its projects);  and street work- $100,000 ($82,334 of which comes in revenue from the state's Consolidated Highway Improvement Program.
Street work, according to Mr. Degrace, is planned this summer for Vachereau St. (binder and tops coats), top coats forArden Street, Front Street, McFarland Ave. and Oak Street and a three-inch binder coat for Amell Lane.
He also reported that new sidewalks will be constructed this coming season on Vachereau, Chaney, Cedar, Park, Arden, McFarland and Oak.
A figure of $22,000 was budgeted for the equipment repair costs the DPW is expect to incurr.
Sander parts and a rebuild of one of the department's large machine adds another $10,000 to the budget in the snow equipment code, $6,000 for the purchase of 90 tons of salt and $5,000 for snowplow repairs.
Total street light costs in the village next year is expected to be $52,000- $40,000 of which is born by the electric department.
Other general fund expenses in the draft budget include: publicity- $14,500 (beautification with flowers and barrels $2,000 and the villages contract with ROOST $12,500), programs for the aging through the Adirondack Adult Center- $7,000; parks- $38,000 (two days of one full-time employee and two part-time summer workersand the services of the community development coordinator ($90,000) which is funded in total by grant funds the village has received and will receive and playground equipment and repairs-  $10,000.
Refuse collection in the village is something of a wash.  The personnel (two days or $16,440 per year), expenses including fuel and vehicle repairs ($7,000), tipping fees at the county transfer station- $21,400 and recycling permit printing- $500 are balanced off against the sale of garbage bag stickers for the most part.
The remaining piece of the general fund budget is related to the expenses of the village offices.  Some of those include trustee salaries, $4,800 each for four,  contractual expenses related to the operation of the police and fire and DPW,  $6,000; the operation of village court, $29,000; justice department contractual expenses, $7,500; mayor's salary, $9,200;  audit expenses, $5,000; treasurer, $9,270; attorney's services- $4,400; contractual legal expenses including litigation and an update of zoning code, $20,000; engineering services, $20,000.