Village plans to hire new cop, lower taxes

After juggling several items during a budget hearing on Monday, the village of Tupper Lake ended up with a budget plan that would add a new police officer while lowering taxes by more than 1 percent.

The new tax rate would be about $15.37 per thousand of assessed value and total spending would decrease by several thousand dollars from last year's budget to roughly $1.4 million.

A budget proposal earlier this month predicted a .5 percent increase in total spending and a 1.7 percent increase to the tax levy.

Although the numbers aren't set in stone, the tax levy is approximately $1.65 million, about $16,000 less than it was earlier this month.

Village officials agreed to hire a new police officer with a starting salary of $34,000. At the same time, they figure they'll save big bucks in overtime paid to its understaffed police squad.

The village will save $14,000 in dispatching costs paid to the county because the new police officer would take on much of that responsibility as well.

Trustees also agreed not to replace a police cruiser that was damaged in a car accident late last week. The police department has a rarely used 2010 Dodge Durango that it will put into regular service instead.

Mayor Mickey Desmarais said the village's insurance would cover the damage for the police car, and that money would be put into a fund to buy a new police cruiser at a later date.

The village also renegotiated its contract to provide fire protection services to the town, removing concerns that it might have to increase taxes by nearly 9 percent.

And finally, the board decided not to fix up a private dirt road inside the village, saving the town more than $16,000. The village had planned on fixing up Amell Lane, a road owned by developer Roger Amell, who is also the town supervisor.

Residents who live in the development have complained that the pothole-strewn road is in such disrepair that school buses and mail carriers have had trouble using it.

But the village decided that it should stick to its policy of requiring the developer to bring a road up to par before it takes it over and maintains it.

Amell continues to insist that it is not his responsibility to repair the road.

Aside from Amell Lane, trustees expect the upcoming budget to allow for vital services to continue while lowering their cost to village residents.

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