Press-Republican

Sunday

March 30, 2014

Port Henry works on new budget

Village officials unsure if spending plan will top state limit

PORT HENRY — Members of the Port Henry Village Board aren’t sure yet whether their new budget will have to exceed the state tax cap.

So far, the budget has about $75,000 in new costs, including a $49,000 loan payment, with work still ongoing and no public hearing scheduled.

After a budget workshop this week, Mayor Ernest Guerin said that up to three more budget sessions will be needed to develop the tentative 2014-15 budget.

“It (the workshop) was productive,” he said. “It was very favorable. It’s not going to be a depressing thing for taxpayers.”

RISING COSTS

The Village Board has passed a local law allowing a tax-cap override, he said, but it’s unknown if it will be needed.

Village budget consultant Janelle Jurkiewicz told trustees at their budget meeting this week that health insurance for employees is up 15 percent, while liability insurance increased 4 percent over the current budget.

State Retirement System charges will rise 2 percent, she said.

Village employees are in the budget for 2.5 percent pay increases.

DPW POSITIONS

The village did save about $10,000 by eliminating the position of deputy superintendent in the Department of Public Works and creating a working foreman position instead.

The only new DPW equipment in the budget is a truck, but the loan for that won’t have payments due until the 2015-16 budget.

Fire Chief James Hughes said the budget for the Port Henry Fire Department, owned by the village, will stay the same for 2014-15: $43,000 for services and $15,000 for equipment.

POWER CHANGE

One change that should save the village money is switching from National Grid to Gateway Energy Services of Montebello for most of its electrical supply, Trustee Matthew Brassard said.

“Our bills should drop 20 to 60 percent. We should save $3,000, $4,000 a month.”

The village pays for power for the Joint Wastewater Treatment Plant, Village Hall and Fire Department.

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