Manlius town budget approved in nick of time

Memorandum of Understanding

About 25 firefighters from all three villages sat in the audience Nov. 19 for the presentation of the Memo of Understanding for the possible joint commission between the villages of Fayetteville and Manlius. Mayor Mark Olson said the consolidation aims to provide better services to town and village residents, to equalize the tax rates among different areas under the town and to increase cost-effectiveness.

Olson said he hoped to see this commission operational by Jan. 1, 2010, but "it is still very much a work in progress," he said. First of all, the villages of Fayetteville and Manlius and the towns of Manlius and Pompey must all approve the idea. Minoa has decided not to be involved because its fire district is set up differently from the other two villages.

After that, a joint public hearing would be held, followed by another hearing to set the public referendum, then the vote.

"Without one adopting it, it's over," Olson said.

Fayetteville has applied for a $22,000 state shared services grant to conduct a study on the cost efficiency of this consolidation. Though the various village and town boards were not "100 percent sold yet," Olson said, he thought it was important to continue the dialogue and iron out as many details as possible. It was apparent Wednesday night that many of the firefighters in the audience were not completely sold yet either, as they mumbled their disagreements to each other during the presentation.

"It's this option or the status quo, but everybody in this room saying it doesn't work," Olson said.

2009 town budget

The board authorized the $11.3 million town budget for 2009 after quickly discussed some of the key changes. These include increases in petroleum costs, health insurance rates and non-operating revenues, with decreases in both mortgage tax and building permits. Other areas that contributed to the overall increase include software requirements and state environmental regulations.

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