CHAMPLAIN -- The way Champlain Mayor Jeffrey Moore looks at it, good fiscal management extends beyond keeping tax rates near status quo.

"We're trying to do a lot of things that save money," he said.

Take the natural-gas space heaters planned for the garage connected to the Village Office on Main Street.

"The old ones are ancient," Moore said, which in his mind equates with inefficiency.

And they use more-expensive fuel oil.

Setback thermostats will help save money, he said. And the 2007-08 budget, which kicks in June 1, includes money for new air conditioners for the office facility.

Again, age makes the existing ones less economical.

And they aren't even set up to cool properly or improve air quality, as neither draws fresh air from the outside, Moore said.

One, he said, "actually goes into the next room!"

The new spending plan totals $463,550, with a tax levy of $210,735, up not quite 1 percent over this year's.

"It's probably about $25 a house," Moore said.

The tax rate is $4.81 per $1,000, an increase of 27 cents.

Tax bills go out June 1, and, Moore was glad to say, are based on the 2006 assessments.

Just last week, villagers got the 2007 numbers, which, overall, showed about a 20-percent increase in assessments. On village tax, at least, they get a breather until school tax bills arrive in the fall.

The village's general-fund budget is pretty spare, Moore said.

"I was very pleased with how hard everybody worked to keep the expenses down. I think everybody did a real good job."

Wages, including pay for the mayor and trustees, go up about 3 percent.

There's $24,000 slated for roadwork that, said Moore, even with a disappointing expected decrease in Consolidated Highway Improvement Program funds should allow for the paving of either upper or lower Prospect Street.

This year, CHIPS brought in $23,000 with $19,000 estimated for next.

An increase of $4,300 from $4,000 this year will replace the air conditioning and office carpeting.

There's $6,000 left in grant money for the River Street park that will pay for some paving, signage and a picnic table designed for handicapped users.

"We can't find one for much less than $1,000," said Moore of the table. "Then there's a shipping charge.

"We're looking into seeing if we can build our own."

The village won't pay for dog-control services this coming year, saving $3,000.

"Now it comes out of the town (of Champlain) tax levy, and the service is shared by everyone," Moore said.

But the municipality will kick in more for code enforcement, $7,000 rather than this year's $4,500.

That's because the town covered all Michael Tetreault Jr.'s benefits in the past, said Moore. Now that's shared among town and villages of Champlain and Rouses Point.

"We were just paying a straight wage," Moore said. "Obviously, that's not fair."

The village has carried an unappropriated fund balance of $106,000 for a few years now, and Moore wants to continue keeping that cushion.

Some money should be left from this year's appropriated funds, and he had hoped to put it toward a vehicle more economical than the pickup truck now used for chores such as meter reading, which gets maybe 12 miles a gallon.

"Of course, that was before the ice disaster," Moore said of March ice-jam flooding, which is just now making its expense known.

Purchase of such a vehicle fits right in with the effort, the mayor said, "to incorporate more things that will lessen the blow over the years."

It's a process, he continued.

"I think we're making some headway."

E-mail Suzanne Moore at:

smoore@pressrepublican.com

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