Rouse seeks Lenox seat

He said the park has nine new businesses operating with an assessed value of $8 million generating $330,000 a year in tax revenue to the local economy and employs more than 90 people.

Rouse said his experience as mayor and managing multiple departments makes him an asset at the county level, including his "first-hand knowledge" dealing with unions and negotiating contracts, for both sides. The village also has been successful in obtaining state and federal grants, for public and private entities, he said. Rouse said the town could utilize the village rather than pay outside sources to write grants. He noted the $13.5 million in stimulus funding the village recently secured.

As the village's budget officer, Rouse balances a $4 million budget that includes the waste water treatment plant.

"People often ask me why the village taxes are so much higher than the town taxes," Rouse said. "Simple, the village has all the services, fire, police, recreation, garbage and lighting. All of this comes out of the budget, not districts. Obviously the village tax rate is going to be higher than the town. In nine years, we've averaged a 1 percent increase in taxes, which is below inflation." He said the biggest expenses are retirement benefits, health insurance and utilities.

Consolidation of services has been a key issue for some time. Rouse said he's in favor of looking at ways to make government more efficient and economical.

"This is strictly my opinion but to do that is through shared services," he said. He said for the past four years, the village has been working with the school district on a transportation facility concept. The school would act as the lead agent and all the facilities could fall under one roof, he said.

"I would be the first supervisor in over 30 years that will be able to bring village government to the town and look for ways to integrate," Rouse said. "They are two different forms of government and their laws are not the same."

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