Financial plight'in the village

The village of Liverpool's budget for 2009-10 is $2.7 million, and $550,000 of that sum came from its share of the 4 percent county sales tax. On May 4 the Onondaga County Legislature voted unanimously to retain a larger share of the $280 million it collects in sales tax each year.

The village's annual allotment was slashed by two-thirds, to $281,000.

Liverpool Mayor Gary White says the new arrangement, which will last for a decade, has left the village in "financial plight."

At the monthly village board meeting on Dec. 20, White urged residents to attend a pre-budget session at 7 p.m. on Monday Jan. 31, at the Village Hall, 310 Sycamore St.

"This is a chance for the public to learn more about how the sales tax situation will affect us," White said. The mayor and trustees also hope to hear which services villagers consider most essential.

The budget shortfall means the village faces "some very hard choices," said Trustee Nick Kochan

White, Kochan and Village Clerk Mary Ellen Sims recently met with Travis Glazier, the county's new director of government relations. "We gave him a lot to take back to the county executive," White said.

On Nov. 17 the Onondaga County Association of Mayors met in Solvay to discuss restrictions that had been placed on how the villages could use their annual shares of sales tax revenue. Earlier that week, the association's 15 mayors had received a letter from Onondaga County Chief Fiscal Officer James Rowley indicating that their portion of the sales tax revenue must be spent on "infrastructure projects" that had to be personally approved by County Executive Joanie Mahoney

At the Nov. 17 meeting, White said, county officials told the mayors that "they intended no roadblocks." Further negotiations with Rowley resulted in a revised agreement which will allow villages to spend the money on infrastructure maintenance, repairs and public-works projects.

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