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Village budget holds line on taxes

LAKE GEORGE - Reviewing details Friday of the recently completed municipal 2009-2010 budget that shows no tax increase, Village Mayor Robert Blais offered a comment on the figures he was scrutinizing.

"I think the state and federal governments could learn from our budget," he said. "This budget is truly a miracle."

The village board will hold a public hearing on the 2009-2010 budget Monday at 7 p.m., following the municipality's annual meeting at 6 p.m.

The financial plan calls for appropriations to increase $61,026 to $3,756,131 from the present year, but it is offset by an increase in anticipated revenues of $114,822 allowing for the village to use less reserves to balance the budget. The tax rate per $1,000 of assessed valuation remains at $8.07.

The budget includes raises of less than 3 percent for all village employees and the first principal payment on the municipality's new fire house. The proposal calls for changing the village's health insurance offerings to minimize an anticipated 22 percent increase. It also takes into consideration a reduction in assessed value resulting from recent sales.

Major cuts were made in the elimination of two salaried positions, changing employee work schedules to reduce overtime during the summer season and trimming summer entertainment in Shepard Park, Blais said.

"The village's strong revenues from parking meters, leased lands and county occupancy tax have allowed us to hold the line during these difficult times."

Parking meter revenues are estimated at $495,000 for 2009-10 along with $510,000 for sales tax, Blais said.

He said the boosted revenues helped offset the major improvements at the wastewater treatment plant and the construction of the new firehouse.

"Our no-tax-increase budget represents sacrifices by our employees and wise planning by our Clerk-Treasurer Darlene Gunther and her staff," the mayor said.

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