Village officials are ready for a new year, with two new trustees, a new committee structure, and a tentative $5.6 million budget.
The budget reflects a 6 percent or $335,495 increase in spending.
Teresa Hoban, Ray Spencer, and Carolyn Benedict were sworn in as trustees, and Mayor Leigh MacKerchar took his oath of office before the annual organizational meeting April 2. Former trustees Willie Allison and David Reeve did not seek re-election.
After the annual organizational meeting, the board held a brief public hearing on the village budget which calls for a tax levy increase of 3.48 percent or $100,397. That increase falls below the state determined tax cap for the fifth consecutive year, says Clerk/Treasurer Gary Meeks.
The tentative tax rates per $1,000 of assessed value will increase by 39 cents in Milo ($15.25), 53 cents in Benton ($14.94), and 77 cents in Jerusalem ($16.43).
Addtional street funds may be handed down through the state budget, which will result in an increase in the contingency fund.
Key points in the budget include:
• $93,500 allocated to the fire department’s equipment reserve to build up a down payment for the next fire truck purchase. The last truck loan has been paid off, so the amount of the last principal payment is being set aside for this.
• $69,476 of the public works equipment fund will be used to purchase a pickup for Parks & Recreation, a new sander for the streets dept., and a heater and cab for the Gator used by the cemetery.
• $4,000 from reserves will be used to fund an architect building assessment of the village hall. There is potential need for replacing the heat pumps in the village hall. The assessment will help in planning for future upkeep, according to Meeks.
• While there are no increases in pay for the mayor, trustees, and members of municipal utilities board, the budget includes a 2.5 percent increase for CSEA workers and non-union and permanent part time personnel; and 2 percent for PBA members and police chief. The salary for Acting Justice David Grace has been increased from $3,000 to $6,000. Along with the increase in minimum wage, returning seasonal workers will be paid 25 cents per hour more, and lifeguards will see an increase from $11.25 per hour to $11.50.
There were no public comments on the tentative budget, and the board took no action. It is anticipated the board will take action during the April meeting April 17.
During the organizational meeting, the board made several appointments, to positions on village positions and boards. MacKerchar appointed Trustee Dan Condella as Deputy Mayor, and established committees as follows:
• Administration: Benedict, chair; Rich Stewart, Spencer, members. This is a new committee.
• Planning & Development: Stewart, chair; Kevin McLoud, Spencer, members
• Public Safety: Condella, chair; Benedict, Hoban, members
• Public Works: McLoud, chair; Condella, Teresa, members. This committee includes Parks & Recreation.