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Caz: Tighten our belts

Tighten our belts

Until our ship comes in, says mayor

By Willie Kiernan

republican@cnylink.com

At the last village board meeting, Cazenovia voted for a $1,977,341.66 2008-2009 budget. This will mean close to a 3 percent tax increase for village residents.

"This was a real tough budget for the board of trustees with costs going up exponentially, especially fuel," said Mayor Tom Dougherty.

The village officials said they went into budget analysis with the intent not to raise any taxes.

"I can assure the public, line by line is gone over with a lot of scrutiny," said Trustee Kurt Wheeler.

The board attempted a cutting of every corner possible but couldn't do anything about the costs of insurance, energy and the looming problem of aging infrastructure.

"This is a modest increase and we worked hard to keep it at a modest increase," said Trustee Paul Brooks. "We could've raised it 15 percent and still not be able to get everything done. We've reached a budget that'll work for us this year, but we have some major problems ahead."

Making this a particularly challenging budget for the village is the fact that the flat housing market contributed to having only a modest increase in the total assessed value of real estate in the community on the income side. At the same time, many expenses such as fuel costs are going up faster than usual.

"We are also at a critical juncture where we have to begin making an increased investment in our aging infrastructure such as our streets and water system," Wheeler said. "The board worked together to scrutinize every line in the budget to keep our tax increase under 3 percent."

This is the first rate increase for the village since 2004.

"Our taxable assessed value for the village only went up .5 percent this year which amounted to $764,400. That increase times (X) our new tax rate of $5.47997 per $1,000 assessed value only added $4,189 to the revenues side of the budget," Mayor Dougherty said. "On the appropriations side, increases in fuel costs, wages, employee benefits, and insurance have impacted the budget."

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