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Montour Falls tax rate stays same as last year

MONTOUR FALLS—The Montour Falls village budget hearing happened without any public showing up, and only two real changes in moving some funds.
After looking at the latest proposed budget, Trustee Sharon Wiedemer said the board had talked about putting $1,000 more into Web maintenance so it would have $2,200.  Clerk Suzanne Casselberry said they could move it from capital street reserves, making that fund now $54,000.  The board later agreed to move $30,000 into equipment reserves fund and $24,000 into streets reserve funds.
Trustee Jim Howell pointed out that the tax rate pretty much stays the same in the proposed budget.  The current year’s tax rate is $12.645 and the proposed one for the next budget year is $12.638.  The close to zero percent tax rate is because the village approved using $200,000 from the general funds to stop it from increasing.
Howell asked if this is done regularly, pointing out concern for taking money out of the general fund to do it.  Trustee Phil Smith explained that even though the village does this, the fund balance has about the same amount every year.  He said what was in the general fund carries over each year.  Casselberry added the village maintains a decent fund balance.
“If (the fund balance) didn’t go up, we wouldn’t use it,” said Smith.
Howell also pointed out that a lot of expenses had gone down, like the contract building expenses, which was down $3,000.
One area where the village would like to spend more is for public safety.  Mayor Donna Kelley explained the increase from $6,000 to $9,000 was for the new contract the board wants to enter in with Schuyler County Sheriff’s Office.  She said they wanted to increase the number of hours the sheriff spends on Montour Falls.
Kelley explained to Howell about the increase of funds to water reserve and sewer reserve.  She said money put into these funds can only be used for water or sewer projects, even by future boards.  She added it helps keep money for future projects that the village will need to do.
The marina came up as a future source of revenue for the village.  Kelley said when it was completed, the rent from campsites and docks will help.  The board also discussed charging campsite users for their specific water usage.
The village board will vote on the 2009/10 budget at the next board meeting, Monday, April 20.

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