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Montour Falls plans no tax rate increase

MONTOUR FALLS—The Montour Falls village board’s proposed budget for 2009/10 has no tax rate increase.
At he April 6 village board meeting, Mayor Donna Kelley said the way the current proposed budget stands, there is a zero percent tax rate increase.  Clerk Suzanne Casselberry explained in order to do that, the village needs to use $200,000 from the general funds budget.
Trustee Phillip Gillemot asked if the village could take more out of the budget to decrease the tax rate.  However, Kelley said she was not comfortable doing that.  She explained this was the second year they would have a zero percent tax rate and “we don’t know what’s coming” in the future.
The board also talked about opportunities to get federal stimulus funds for other village projects.  Kelley said a representative from Larson Engineers had talked to her about being a consultant to help get the village Green Innovation Grant Funds and/or the Drinking Water State Revolving Funds.
A budget hearing was scheduled for April 13 at 7 p.m. at the Montour Falls Village Hall.  Kelley said once the village has had the public hearing, the board cannot increase taxes in the proposed budget, but can decrease them.
In other business:
•  The board is looking into changing the parking rules on the west side of Genesee Street.  Kelley said she wanted the space in front of the falls to become 15 minute parking for people stopping to see the falls.  She said the area is currently two hour parking, but there is no sign there stating that.  The board also expressed concern about people parking there  for extended periods; even up to a week.  The board also talked about allowing no parking on the west side of Genesee Street, starting at the falls for safety issues.
•  The village board agreed to purchase a new gearbox for the wastewater treatment plant for $6,352.  Kelley explained the old one broke and now the work has to be done manually.  She said, “it’s a must.”   The gearbox that broke was purchased around five years ago.
•  The board also approved the requested $700 increase in the marina janitorial contract.  Trustee Sharon Wiedemer said the janitor does a good job, even going to the marina after a busy weekend.  Kelley said his duties included cleaning the marina office.
•  The online sale of old village highway equipment brought in $13,805.  Schuyler County Highway Superintendent Greg Mathews sold the equipment for the village on an auction Web site.  He has does the same for the county equipment.
•  The board accepted and filed the notice of completion of the Final Generic Environmental Impact Statement.
•  Kelley said Stillman’s Greenhouse has created a list of the plants needed for the rain garden outside the village hall.  She said it would cost $655 and some money could be reimbursed through the Rural Stormwater Coalition Grant.  Kelley added the 4-H was willing to do the planting.  The rain garden was started as a way to get the drainage water away from the foundations of the village hall and library.
•  The board also discussed changing the zoning at the Rural Urban Center.  Kelley said the building need to have the correct zoning in place (for apartments) before the Restore NY grant is submitted.  She said it would be easier to do before the village’s new zoning laws went into effect.  No action was taken at this meeting, because the board did not know if they needed to hold another public hearing about zoning.
•  Kelley said she was waiting to hear back from the engineers of the proposed county consolidated water district.  She said as soon as she knows then they are available the village will be able to hold a public informational meeting.
The next regular meeting will be held Monday, April 20 at 7 p.m.  A Restore NY Round 3 grant public meeting will be held at the start of the meeting.

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