Gas, diesel costs hit PY budget plan

Gwen Chamberlain

Village officials have adopted a budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year that will increase the tax bills on properties valued at $100,000 by $39 or $40 over last year’s bills, reflecting a 2.2 percent increase in the total tax levy, the amount to be raised by local property taxes.

The village board held a public hearing on the budget Wednesday, April 13, and after making some adjustments based on information that just came in, unanimously adopted the $4 million spending plan.

The last minute changes were:

• A 32 percent increase in gasoline costs and a 43 percent increase in diesel fuel costs. Brent Bodine, Director of Public Works said Police Chief Mark Hulse has indicated the increase will eat up about $6,000 more from his share of the budget, but he can cover the gap. But the DPW budget would take a hit of $8,000 through the increase, according to Bodine.

The board approved some adjustments in other areas to cover $5,000 of the gap, but had to come up with $3,000 more.

Mayor Robert Church recommended reducing the fire department equipment reserve fund by $3,000 and moving the funds to the DPW portion of the budget.

Church said the goal of the fire department equipment reserve fund is to have $200,000 on hand to help pay for the truck that will be delivered next June. That goal will be met with money that’s in the fund now. The fund needs to be built back up for the next truck purchase in about six years.

• A $3,134 increase in the cost of the fire department’s length of service program (LOSAP).

• An increase of about $1,000 in state highway funding.

No one from the public commented or attended the meeting.

Mayor Robert Church asked chairs of various committees to remind employees about the increased cost of gas and diesel, and to encourage all departments to find ways to reduce use.

The board unanimously approved the village, water, sewer and electric budgets.

Trustee Michael Christensen commented on the work that Church, Clerk/Treasurer Shawna Wilbur, Bodine, Hulse and other department heads did on the budget, and noted he was pleased to hear that department heads are looking at next year’s budget issues already.

“We know it’s going to be real hard next year. There’s no doubt about it.” said Church.

Other business on the board’s agenda included:

• PUBLIC HEARINGS: The board set two public hearings for 6 p.m. and 6:10 p.m. May 17 to hear comments on water and sewer rates.

• PROPOSALS: The board agreed to seek engineering proposals for the waterfront park and trail improvement grant. Recreation Director Dan Doyle said the proposals will be related to the removal and relocation of the bathroom facilities at Red Jacket Park.