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Village proposes 2.259 percent increase in tax levy

WATKINS GLEN—The proposed 2010-11 budget for the village of Watkins Glen was presented at the regular meeting of the Watkins Glen Village Board, Monday, April 5.
The proposed tax levy will be $1,095,903.  It is a 2.259 percent increase in the total tax levy from the 2009-2010 budget, which was $1,071,691.  The tax rate per thousand for 2010-11 will be $8.108 which is a 37.53 percent decrease from the 2009-10 budget.  It was $12.98 last year.  The actual amount of increase or decrease in tax dollars will vary for each parcel, depending on the new assessed value.
A public hearing will be held April 19 at 7 p.m., at the Watkins Glen Municipal Building on North Franklin Street to discuss the proposed budget.  Copies of the proposed budget are available in the front office at the municipal building.   
Chuck Franzese, HUNT Real Estate Corp representative, attended the meeting and provided some information regarding the new raw water intake system. A new independent estimated total for the project is $2,486,000 which is $1,586,000 more than the original $900,000 that they had estimated.  “I can’t change it and I can’t ask you to plan for something less,” Franzese said.  
He did say that the village could probably borrow money at a lower rate.  The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has placed some restrictions on the project as well which has added extra time to the scheduled project, and now it is in question as to whether the project can be started in time so it can be finished in time.  
“I am recommending we sit tight and see where we’re at.  Wait and see what their (the USDA) offer is,” Franzese said.  The village can then reject the bids from the USDA that come in too high.  The final numbers won’t be done until at least mid May.  
The board also approved to amend the current zoning law as requested by the planning board.  A local law will have to first be drawn up to change the current law.  The new zoning law will eliminate zones, change zones, and will clear up and add definitions in the current law.  
The board approved an application for the April 2010 round of the New York State Main Street Grant Program.  This grant amount cannot exceed $500,000.  It will allow up to $445,000 for property owners in developing their building, up to $50,000 in streetscape improvements such as new trash receptacles, planters, or tree guards, and up to $25,000 in administrative and program delivery.  
Village Clerk Donna Beardsley also announced that Nov. 1, the village will take title of a number of foreclosed properties that have unpaid village taxes.  The village has already collected over $50,000 in old taxes from these properties.  Beardsley also recommends that the village set up a policy so, properties don’t go so many years, because some of the current foreclosures date back to the 1990s.  
The board also approved to recognize April 17, 2010 as Bill Milliken Day in Watkins Glen.  William F. Milliken is a founding member of road racing in the village.  He was head of the rules and competed in the first race on Oct. 2, 1948.  This year he will celebrate his 99th birthday, April 18.  The next regular meeting of the board will be Monday, April 19 at 7 p.m. along with the public hearing for the budget.     

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