Nov 15, 2010 Ned Campbell Uncategorized
The village of Camillus proposed a $.35 per $1,000 of assessed property value increase in the tax rate at a budget hearing Thursday Nov. 9 in Village Hall – that figure had been cut in half, from $.75, that morning.
“After going through the budget this morning with [village clerk/treasurer] Marie [Stanczyk], the suggestion was made” to take $19,259 from the unexpended fund balance of $120,000 in order to bring the rate down to a $.35 increase.
The village changed its fiscal year to match the calendar year for 2011, which is why the budget for 2010 looks so small – because of the change, 2010’s budget only covered seven months. The proposed budget for 2011 is $1.02 million compared to $596,686 last year.
Broken down month by month, the total budget comes to $84, 935 – that’s slightly lower than 2010’s month-by-month break down, which comes to $85,240.
The proposed budget is almost $100,000 less than what was budgeted in 2008-09.
The village was faced with a lost of $80,000 in sales tax revenue and a loss of approximately $3,000 in state aid, Montero said, which contributed to difficulties in keeping the tax rate from increasing.
Even with the tax increase, cuts had to be made. For the second year in a row, the village proposed to provide no funding to Maxwell Memorial Library, a decrease in $10,000 from 2008-09.
Library Director Katy Benson attended the meeting to advocate for the library.
“I know there are issues, there are problems with coming up with money, but I just wanted to show you some information I pulled together on what our potential service is to the village,” Benson said, “and just ask if any consideration could be made to somehow, at some point, reinstate some kind of budget for the library.”
Benson presented the board with a worksheet of statistics from the 2000 Census (later data was not available).
“Almost 12.5 percent of village residents 25 and older have less than a high school education,” Benson said. “These are people who have a potential need for some literacy services, not learning how to read necessarily, but studying for the GED, and help like that which the library provides.”
One bullet point stated that out of 568 households in Camillus, 305 are families. Of the 264 non-family households, 76 are senior citizens living alone. Benson noted that in 2009, Maxwell hosted 225 programs for kids and teens, 168 for adults (mostly seniors) and 37 for families.
Montero said he agreed with everything on Benson’s worksheet and valued the service the library provides.
“And believe me, it makes me sick that we had to cut a lot of things in order to minimize the amount of money that the public would have to come up with in taxes,” Montero said. “I know there is only one line in this budget that money could be moved from, and that’s called the contingency account.
“That’s the only one that right now doesn’t really go anywhere, just in case something happens.”
Benson had her own suggestion – that for charity fundraising events in the village, like Feb Fest, non-profit organizations such as the library could be considered as recipients of funds.
“That was just a thought off the top of my head,” she said. “And I do know that it makes you guys sick and that you have been library supporters.”
“I think the library is an integral part of the village and it’s a wonderful service,” Montero said. “And anyone can walk in and get information.”
Montero continued: “I can assure you that assisting the library is not something that I’ve just completely dropped off my plate. If we are able to … if we get to that point where we can do that again, absolutely.”
The library receives the bulk of its funding from the town of Camillus – around $150,000 yearly – and also receives $78,000 from the school district’s tax levy. Benson said losing $10,000 won’t break the bank for the library, but still makes a difference.
“Because we’re small, every little bit helps,” Benson told the Observer, adding that for the library’s upcoming budget, they had to scale back on book, AV materials and magazines.
“I know they’re in a big crunch over there,” she said. “You can always hope, and I figured it’s my job to get my library in front of them to remind them. If you don’t ask, chances are they won’t do it.”
Benson stressed that dollars given to libraries can go a long way because of their lending nature.
“With libraries, let’s say you spend a dollar on a book. Then 100 people can read that book,” Benson said. “Whereas you give a dollar to somebody else to buy a book, then one person gets a book.”
The 2011 budget was not approved at Tuesday’s hearing, as officials need to figure in the added expense of participating in the Onondaga County MS4 program. The village had budgeted $500 for MS4 obligations, and the program would require a $3,500 contribution.
Montero discussed various ways that the village could save money in the near future, including having its tax bills printed by an independent company rather than the county, which charges the village roughly $1,000, at $2 per bill, for the service. Stanczyk estimated a savings of $800 could come out of that switch. The village is also leaning toward switching to a less expensive healthcare provider.
Kirk explains plans for LED sign
Dick Kirk, the developer who renovated the property at 55 Main St., came to the meeting to explain his plan to install a 7-foot wide LED sign in the village of Camillus.
“I guess there was concern about the brightness of the sign,” Kirk said. “This LED sign is programmable from a laptop computer, so you can vary the brightness.”
Kirk said it would not be to his advantage to have it bright because of the high cost to do so.
Village Attorney Steven Primo asked Kirk if he would be willing to work with the board on the sign, considering that Kirk obtained the sign permit before the new overlay zoning district, which gives the village stronger jurisdiction over signage, was in place.
‘That’s no problem; I’ll work with anybody,” Kirk said. “I’m going to let other business as well as the village use the sign, too.”
The sign will advertise Kirk’s restaurant at 55 Main, Krabby Kirk’s Saloon, which he hopes to have open by the first week in December – and at the very latest, Dec. 30.
“Otherwise I lose my liquor permit,” Kirk said.
Overlay District approved
The board approved Local Law Number One of 2010, creating a zoning overlay district in the village of Camillus.
Changes in zoning were made to encourage the development of structures and uses that are compatible with their surroundings in the village, with an emphasis on attractive storefronts. The law also allows the village to enforce historically consistent front and attractive rear entrances.