Tentative budget holds the line in Fayetteville

Despite concerns about the economy and an uncertain fiscal future, the village of Fayetteville's tentative spending plan does not raise property taxes.

Mayor Mark Olson released the $5.1 million budget draft at the board of trustees meeting Feb. 28. The proposed tax rate will stay at $6.70 per $1,000 assessed value. The amount to be raised by taxes is $1.8 million, the same as this year.

The trustees will now get to fine-tune the budget in workshops, and then will schedule an April public hearing before its adoption.

This budget would mark seven consecutive years under Olson's administration that village residents will not see an increased tax rate, even though Onondaga County cut nearly $400,000 in sales tax revenue to Fayetteville.

Last year, the village received nearly $900,000 in county sales tax revenue and could have been left getting nothing this year. But after a much-publicized lengthy and contentious debate, the County Legislature agreed to establish a Village Improvement Program that will provide $252,000 in addition to the allocated $240,000 sales tax revenue.

Olson said the village dipped into its fund balance, or savings account, for $200,000 to add to $195,000 in rollover funds to cut into the deficit.

Also, total assessment revenues have increased more than $6 million over the current year. This will help close the gap.

While neighboring municipalities are struggling to make ends meet for the fiscal year that begins June 1, Olson said Fayetteville residents will not experience a tax rate hike because the village has held the line on spending.

"This is a sound budget," the mayor told the board. "It is not a fat budget by any means."

Earlier this year Olson directed the board to abide by strict guidelines to cut spending, manage departments and plan for more reductions without eliminating services. As a result, in the proposed budget, Fayetteville's total spending is down 5 percent after spending was reduced 6 percent in the current year from the prior year.

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