COLUMN: Coffee with Baldwinsville’s Mayor

— “[The village] held a movie night on a 20’ by 16’ screen. It was $200 [for the licensing fee] to see the Wizard of Oz,” Joe said about the event held a few years ago on Paper Mill Island. “It was awesome.”

This led to a discussion about possible movie nights at Canton Woods Senior Center, which could be used as fundraisers to help offset the costs of running the center. A dinner theater was also suggested.

“Larry, why don’t you start up that committee,” Joe said.

“I’d love to,” Larry responded.

The village budget was also discussed briefly.

“You’ll see a tax rate decrease in the county,” Joe said, adding, “[the village is] just getting into the budget development process.”

Joe said the village budget has been around $4 million. However, it is estimated that BlueCross BlueShield will be raising rates by 19 percent and there are also pensions to consider.

The state has put a 2 percent tax cap on taxing entities (municipalities, schools), which effects the tax levy (the amount raised through property taxes). Joe said the village tax levy has been about $2 million of the $4 million budget. Considering the tax cap, the village can only raise the tax levy $40,000 per year.

“When you’re talking about insurance rates and NYS pension increases, $40,000 is a drop in the bucket,” Joe said. “When it comes to making difficult decisions such as mandate relief, New York State can’t do it; they can cut off the revenue though. The biggest tax burden is from the state. That’s my soap box.”

“It’s frustrating, I’m a small town mayor and I love it a lot, but I’ve learned a lot,” he added.

Moving on from budget discussions, the seniors expressed an interest in bringing more fast food chains into Baldwinsville, specifically a Kentucky Fried Chicken. Joe said another chain is looking into the former Burger King site including developing a drive through. The establishment would need to work with the surrounding business owners to obtain a drive through.

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