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Watkins approves 2.259 percent tax levy increase

WATKINS GLEN—The Watkins Glen Village Board approved the 2010-2011 budget at their regular meeting Monday, April 19.
The tax levy will be $1,095,903 which is a 2.259 percent increase from the 2009-2010 budget which was $1,071,691. The tax rate per thousand for 2010-2011 will be $8.108 which is a 37.53 percent decrease from the 2009-2010 budget which was $12.98. The actual amount of increase or decrease in tax dollars will vary for each parcel, depending on the new assessed value.
“I just want the taxpayers to realize that we cut it to the bone. The board worked very very hard to bring the tax levy down,” Trustee William Smagner said.
According to Mayor Judy Phillips, there is a 62 percent increase in the retirement clause. The village made some significant reductions in their capital reserve fund. There are minimal changes and services will remain essentially the same.
A public hearing was held before the vote where village residents and community members had a chance to voice their concerns. However, Chris Franzese was the only one to attend. He suggested the village go with a zero percent tax levy increase.
“The economy is flat, the federal government is broke, the state is broke, and taxpayers are broke,” Franzese said.
The board also approved a resolution for utility write-offs that are over 18 months old. The total for these uncollected utilities is $8,727.41. The village will still continue to try to collect them.
“We will probably end up collecting a good percent of these,” Phillips said. She also said in the past these uncollected utility numbers have been over 50,000, so they are going down and she is impressed.
Account Clerk Rhonda Slater said she has a tentative list for next year and the numbers are down less that.
The board also received recycle bids from Cardinal Disposal and Arrowhead Disposal. Cardinal will charge $2,400 for by weekly pick up and $2,350 for monthly pick up. Arrowhead will charge $2,500 by weekly pick up and $1,500 for monthly pick up. A decision on which company to use will be decided upon at the next meeting, after being reviewed.
The New York Conference of Mayors regional meeting on main street economic development will also take place at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel  Wednesday, April 21 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It is hoped that a number of shareholders from this section of the state will attend.
“I hope we will get a pretty good response and other new opportunities for the community, it brings people to town,” Phillips said.
The board will allow the Seneca Sale and Power Squadron in cooperation with the village of Watkins Glen, parks and recreation, volunteer fire department and U.S. Coast Guard Reserve to have the annual flare up to promote safety. During this event, people will fire off their outdated/expired marine flares and fire extinguishers and be trained in safety. The event will take place Saturday, May 22.
The board also wants to remind residents that Dumpster Day will take place Saturday, May 8 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the community center in Watkins Glen.
The next meeting of the board will be Monday, May 3 at 7 p.m.


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