On April 7th I publicly presented a proposed 2015-2016 Village of Massena budget. The tax rate per thousand would rise to $16.01. In the last 12 years, Village Government has raised taxes 43%. This trend is unacceptable.
The 2015-2016 proposed budget: General Fund is $9,297,496; Waste & Refuse is $1,177,490; Water Fund is $2,000,123; Sewer Fund is $1,981,009; Debt Service is $1,050,011; Capital Projects is $901,397; Special Grants is $5,500; and Community Center is $58,087 for t total budget of $15,661,113.
As in every year, personnel cost is the biggest portion of the budget. Government is services and those services are provided by people, our employees. Employee payroll and benefits make up 74% of the proposed budget. In the coming year as we negotiate collective bargaining agreements and management/office staff agreements, our employees and elected officials have to find ways to reign in the rising cost of doing business. We simply cannot continue down the path we are on.
A significant concern I have had in recent years is the Village Board’s increased use of fund balance to deal with revenue shortfalls while maintaining services. For example, in 2009 they applied $170,000.00 in fund balance to the general fund budget. In the following four years they spent over 2.1 million dollars (average of $527,203.00). I’m pleased that in this current budget and the budget I am proposing, the fund balance applied is lowered to $250,000.00.
In the coming weeks, the Board of Trustees will be holding budget work sessions with the various departments to scrutinize their requests and my proposals. These work sessions are open to the public and I invite citizens to attend.
April 9 - 5:00 p.m.
Senior Citizens; Chamber of Commerce; Justice Court; Code Enforcement; Fire
April 13 - 5:00 p.m.
April 14 - 5:00 p.m.
Police; Treasurer / General
April 20 - 5:00 p.m.
BDC; Joint Recreation; Remainder, Adoption (possible)
April 23 - 5:00 p.m.
In closing, I want the great citizens of Massena to know that I realize there is a great deal of work to be done, problems to solve and progress needed. With planning, economic development/job creation, grant writing and making difficult decisions, together we can move Massena forward.
I am always willing to hear your concerns, please feel free to stop and see me at my office in the Town Hall, or call to make an appointment at 769-8625.
Timmy J. Currier