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Watkins passes budget without tax increase

    WATKINS GLEN—The Watkins Glen Board of Trustees unanimously approved the 2012-2013 village budget at the regular meeting held on April 30, 2012. The budget allows for total appropriations of $2,376,093 and calls for a tax rate of $8.10 per $1,000 of assessed value. The village anticipates generating $1,191,320 in revenue during the upcoming fiscal year. The tax rate is unchanged from the 2011-2012 budget which results in a total tax levy increase of $1,936.
    The largest single expense in the budget is for “Police – Personal Services” which will cost the village $261,775, this is followed by medical insurance at a cost of $200,000, and “Police & Fireman Retirement” at $101,968. The biggest revenue generator for the village, besides property taxes, is the Clute Park campground which is projected to bring in $270,000, followed by non property tax revenue from the county of $250,000 and fire protection services paid for by surrounding municipalities, which will generate $218,635 in revenue.
    Mayor Mark Swinnerton thanked the board, the department heads and village staff for their many hours of work, “with everyone’s input we were able to have net zero tax rate increase with no cuts to services.” He added thanks, “for all of the departments for looking for ways to do things differently than we are right now without losing services.”
    Trustee Scott Gibson explained that “it is daunting when you start the process and you are $140,000 in the hole, mostly through unfunded mandates.” He then said that he was “afraid of next year...because there is no indication that these increases [in unfunded mandates] are going to stop,” adding, “the state is effectively handing it down to the locals.” He finished by applauding the staff, saying they have “made huge concessions in their own budgets and the way they operate.”
    The budget vote was held after a public hearing during which the board received one inquiry about the status of the raw water intake plant, whether any sale to a new developer had been completed and if that revenue was included in the budget. Swinnerton said that no, the final deal was still being worked out through negotiations and that any potential sale was not accounted for in the 2012-2013 budget.
    In other business:
    • The board voted to prohibit tobacco use in the village’s recreational areas, including the Clute Park playing fields, Gifford Park, LaFayette Park and Lakeside Park. The ban does not include the Community Center, which has its own tobacco policy, or the Clute Park campgrounds. The ban also includes a “reasonable distance” –around the described recreational areas, which is defined as 20 feet. Village officials along with any other person or citizen may request that any person found to be violating the resolution, “cease and desist.” If the request is not followed, that person “may be ordered (by an official of the Village of Watkins Glen) or requested (by any other person or citizen) to leave the premises.” The resolution will go into effect 60 days from the April 30 meeting.
    • The village will auction two properties on Tuesday, May 15 starting at 7 p.m. The two properties are located at 148 S. Monroe St. and 109 N. Jackson St., respectively. The auction will be on site, beginning with the Monroe Street property. The properties were foreclosed by the village because of delinquent taxes.
    • Dumpster day will be held at the community center on Saturday, May 12 from 8 a.m. to noon. Additional details are available on the village’s website.
    The next village board meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 7 at 7 p.m. in the municipal building.




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