Press-Republican

March 18, 2013

Village budget levy under tax cap

By DAN HEATH
Press-Republican

---- — ROUSES POINT — Early numbers indicate the Village of Rouses Point will be able to keep its tax levy increase below 2 percent.

Village Treasurer Arsene Letourneau said the figures could change as the 2013-14 budget is finalized.

He said they are looking at a $616,074 tax levy at this point, up from $604,857 2012-13, a 1.8 percent increase. The tax rate would increase to $4.40 per $1,000 of assessed value, from $4.28 last year.

There has been no increase in state aid and no relief from unfunded mandates, he said.

“The departments are monitoring their budgets very closely. They are saving money any way they can,” Letourneau said.

WATER, SEWER RATES

The village proposes raising the flat rates for water and sewer $6 each. Rates were last increased in 2010.

The water rate would increase to $32.02 per 1,000 gallons used. The sewer rate would increase to $29.98 per user connection.

That move is intended to help increase the fund balance in those departments, Letourneau said, in anticipation of the loss of department revenue from Pfizer, which is by far the largest user in the village.

He said the budget includes $75,680 for paving projects. Those would be on Maple Street, Pearl Street. White Avenue and Church Street. No major equipment purchases are included in the budget.

There is also $98,000 in the electric fund to finish burying electric lines on Pratt Street.

‘WON’T CLOSE POLICE DEPT.’

Mayor Francis “Bumper” Baker said the village faces challenges from skyrocketing retirement and health benefits. It is also in the midst of negotiations with its Civil Service employees and is concerned about the impending closure of Pfizer.

The Village Board eliminated the chief of police position in last year’s budget. Baker said he has no plans to shut down the department entirely.

The rate to rent the ice at the Rouses Point Civic Center would increase $4 to $128 per hour for 2013-14.

The tentative 2013-14 budget must be presented to the village clerk by March 20. After that, copies will be available to the public.

The village then needs to hold a public hearing on the budget by April 15.

The spending plan needs to be adopted by May 1.

Village elections are Tuesday, with Arvil “Junior” Moore and Joe Treadwell running for the trustee seats of incumbents Rebecca Reid and Brian Jefferson, who are not seeking re-election.

Email Dan Heath:dheath@pressrepublican.com