Baldwinsville passes $4.16M budget, discusses consolidation

The village board unanimously passed a $4.16 million budget Thursday Jan. 4 after holding a public hearing regarding the budget.

The 2007 budget is $140,949 more than the 2006 budget with a tax levy of $1,903,727, which is $36,248 more than last year. The village tax rate decreased by 1.3 percent from last year, partially due to an increased overall assessed value of the village. The budget year begins March 1 and ends Feb. 29, 2008.

While officials noted they cannot control heat, gas, electric and insurance costs, they are putting forth an effort to cut down on costs and paying down substantial debt. Also, instead of offering a standard raise, the village will offer incentives if departments meet certain requirements. For example, if the clerk's department receives a certain amount of grants within an allotted time period, the clerk and deputies can earn an additional one-percent increase. If the department of public works stays within parameters, the superintendent and two foremen can also earn an additional one-percent increase.

"We held the department heads more accountable this year," said trustee Anthony Saraceni.

Eliminating waste

Mayor Dan O'Hara also discussed consolidating village services by starting slowly and leaving the option open to fix mistakes.

"Good judgement comes from bad judgement," he said.

For example, the village police department will no longer have weekend dispatchers in an effort to cut down on costs. However, if the arrangement doesn't work out, the village has the option to return the service.

O'Hara also noted that an employee left the village clerk's office this year and asked, "Do we really need to replace the position?"

He also discussed the possibility of not replacing the highway superintendent position should the current superintendent decide to retire within the next year or two in an effort to save taxpayers money.

Merger study

O'Hara said the village is in the process of coordinating a study regarding mergers between the towns of Van Buren and Lysander and the village of Baldwinsville. He said he spoke with Syracuse University Chancellor Nancy Cantor in regards to having the Maxwell School of Citizenship conduct a study on the possibility of a merger.

Although Saraceni noted that a lot of mergers don't work, O'Hara replied, "If you don't take bold actions it will never happen."

The authorization of the study will be discussed at the village's next board meeting held on Thursday Jan. 18.

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