Budget blues: Liverpool residents' ideas needed at pre-budget session Jan. 31

Saddled with a drastically reduced county sales tax allotment, the village of Liverpool is girding for possible budget cuts as it prepares its 2011-2012 spending plan.

Mayor Gary White has called a special pre-budget meeting for 7 p.m. Monday Jan. 31 to alert residents about the seriousness of the situation

"I encourage the public to attend this pre-budget session to learn more about how the county's sales tax decision affects us," White said.

The village's current budget is $2.7 million, and $550,000 of that came from its share of the 4 percent county sales tax. Last May 4, the Onondaga County Legislature voted unanimously to retain a larger share of the $280 million it collects in sales tax annually.

The village's yearly allotment was slashed by two-thirds, to $281,000. The new revenue-sharing agreement will last for a decade.

At the Jan. 17 village board meeting White reported that he'd received a letter from Onondaga County Chief Financial Officer James Rowley confirming that Liverpool's application for its reduced share of sales tax revenue had been received and approved.

Last November, mayors from the county's 15 villages had been shocked to learn that they must apply for the money to show that it would be spent on "infrastructure projects" that had to be personally approved by County Executive Joanie Mahoney.

Negotiations with Rowley resulted in a revised agreement which allows villages to spend the money on road maintenance, repairs and public-works projects.

While the mayors welcomed that concession on the county's part, the budget shortfall remains a serious issue for towns and villages which provide services such as police, DPW, codes enforcement and local justice courts.

White hopes residents will indicate which services are most important to them at Monday's meeting. Trustee Nick Kochan, Liverpool's deputy mayor, said the village faces "some very hard choices."

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