Trimmed budget to be presented to trustees

LAKEGEORGE-Village Mayor Robert Blais has proposed a 2011-12 municipal budget reflecting a tax increase of about 2 percent more than the current year.

Mayor Blais said Monday, March 14 that this tax hike is less than the average over the past 10 years, and it was prompted by substantial increases in costs of village employee benefits.

The spending plan calls for expenditures of $4,073,704 and revenues of $2,514,217. The Board is appropriating $240,000 from the Village's fund balance towards expenditures, leaving $1,319,487 to be raised by taxes.

The budget, which was trimmed just last week from a draft, calls for a tax rate increase of 19 cents per thousand of assessed valuation. A homeowner with an assessment of $150,000 will pay an additional $28.50 this coming year.

The budget will be reviewed by the village trustees at a meeting Monday, March 21 beginning at 7 p.m.

The budget does not include any purchases of large equipment or any new capital projects. Most village employees will receive a 2 percent increase in wages, capped at 25 cents per hour. Parking meter revenues, sales tax, occupancy tax, and revenues at the village sanitation plant continue to help hold the line on real property taxes, Blais said.

"Our outside revenues continue to play an important role in our budget, accounting for over 60 percent of what we need to remain a great tourist community and a wonderful place to live," he said.

Revenues may be boosted slightly next year due to a recent action by the village board.

March 7, the village board voted to increase the fine for unpaid parking tickets from $10 to $15, but extended the time allowed to pay from 5 days to 15.

Blais said the recent round of budget trimming required a thorough examination of expenditures.

"We did a good job in today's challenging times in holding the line."

He added that that his department heads deserve credit for the prudent budget.

"It's kind of hard to tell them they're not going to buy a truck this year," he quipped.

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