Salina not cutting services in 2011

Salina is working hard to hold the line on spending in 2011.

During a public hearing Monday Oct. 25, board members seemed confident in the plan being presented to the community. No residents spoke for or against the budget during the hearing.

"We have been working tirelessly to keep the town tax rate low," Supervisor Mark Nicotra said. "I think the residents will be quite happy."

According to Nicotra, the town has to budget for approximately $500,000 in increases the board has no control over.

The board estimated a 20 percent increase for retirement contributions. However, the state comptroller's estimated retirement contribution is a 40 percent increase, or about $80,000 more than originally budgeted in Salina's 2011 preliminary budget.

"We have a little more work to do," Nicotra said.

While there's more work to be done, the board has already taken to trimming where it can. Councilor Colleen Gunnip said the spending plan is approximately $31,000 less than what Nicotra presented on Oct. 5.

Despite a budgetary decrease, services will remain on the level in the next year.

"We're not decreasing our services at all," Gunnip said.

Nicotra said the budget, which is a "fluid" and ever-changing document until adopted, may still see some cuts, particularly if the town switches health insurance.

Some cuts that have been made include the elimination of a open position in the highway department and not funding a position of parks maintenance assistant, which is a position the parks department feels can be eliminated.

"I think there might be some opportunity for more cuts," said Councilor V. James Magnarelli.

With more cuts likely coming over the next couple of weeks as the board continues working on the budget, Magnarelli said the town will "work a little smarter over the next year."

The budget has to be approved no later than Nov. 20. Nicotra said if the board does not approve the budget at its next meeting, Nov. 8, the board would need to hold a special meeting.

"If we have to we will go to the very last day to provide the most responsible budget," Nicotra said.

The board will next meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday Nov. 8 at Town Hall. A public hearing on special districts budgets, such as fire protection and sewer, will be at 6:33 p.m.

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