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Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Speculator, NY ,
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Proposed village budget below current one

Sunday, April 13, 2014 - Updated: 8:18 AM

By CRISTINE MEIXNER

Editor

SPECULATOR -- The Village of Speculator Board of Trustees has cut $9,041 from the draft 2014-15 budget, bringing it down to $1.52 million, 8.2 percent less than the current budget.

Estimated revenues are also down, by $112,549 or 14.9 percent. The board applied more fund balance to reduce the tax levy in the new budget, $68,500 as compared to $53,500 in the current one.

As the budget stands now the tax levy would be $814,591, down 3.7 percent.

Despite all this good news, the estimated tax rate per $1,000 of assessed valuation is $5.659, up 2.2 percent from this year's $5.537.

That's because the total taxable assessment of properties within the village has gone down, Mayor Letty Rudes said during the board's Monday, April 7, meeting. "We have to be very careful," she said, "because we had a $261,000 decrease in overall taxable assessments."

The budget includes 50 cent per hour raises across the board, except for one employee who recently got a six-month raise.

It also includes $20,000 for a new dump truck body. Superintendent of Highways Roger Blanchard offered an alternative, saying the current body, which has holes in it and needs a new floor, could be repaired for $10,000.

Trustee Edward Brooks argued for replacement, saying, "Repair would not last long. It is impregnated with salt and rust."

The budget also includes $33,000 to replace the New Holland tractor used by the water, sewer and highway departments and $1,500 for a sidewalk sander.

WATER / SEWER

Despite raising water and sewer rates two years in a row, the Sewer Fund looks as if it will come up short again. "Sewer revenues are $100,000 short already and won't be made up in the next billing," Rudes said.

The board raised rates substantially as of February 2012, and raised them a bit more as of August 2013.

It was hoping fiscal year 2013/14 would see the two funds finally bringing in enough revenues to cover their expenses, and eventually generating fund balances that could repay money borrowed from the General Fund and then be used to establish reserve funds for capital improvements.

They are not there yet.

The Board of Trustees will next meet Monday, April 14, starting at 7 p.m. at Village Hall.

     

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