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Skaneateles mayor, trustee disagree on tax increase

Board adopts 2014-15 budget by 4-1vote

Due to increasing costs, including salaries for unionized village employees, it would be irresponsible not to raise taxes to cover the increasing expenses and plan for the future, he said.

If the village kept taxes flat while costs increased, it could later be faced with a budget shortfall and would be unable to raise taxes enough to cover it, he said.

Hubbard said he prefers to draw down the reserve funds by using them on one-time expenses, such as infrastructure projects, to avoid the need to borrow money and pay debt service.

The village doesn’t keep its reserves in a separate account, the extra money is simply kept in the general fund, and the village won’t know how much leftover money it has until the fiscal year is finished, he said.

Currently, the village is undertaking phase one of three of a water system improvement project on the east side of the village to improve water pressure to fire hydrants. The village is also planning for the redesign and landscaping of the parking lot in front of village hall, infrastructure work on Fennell Street and road work on Goodspeed Road, West Lake Road and others.

Though the water project was originally estimated to cost a total of $1.9 million, the village has been taking it on within its budget by splitting it into three phases, doing some of the engineering work in-house and seeking the lowest bids from contractors, Hubbard said.

The continued progress, and cost, of that project, will determine what other projects the village will be able to do, within its budget, he said.

While the budget that the board approved was essentially the same as the one it had released previously, Village Clerk Patty Couch said she changed some of the language in the document to make it more clear what each line item paid for, following numerous questions from the public at the board’s previous meeting. The village fiscal year will conclude at the end of May.

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