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In Saranac Lake, tentative budget shows tax increase

"So there's already an inherent decrease in their (Harrietstown's) taxes using the new assessment formula there," Rabideau said. "The other two towns would see an increase, if the budget passes in its current form. But as I said, in the days and weeks ahead, it's our goal to reduce the tax rate to zero."

Village officials have proposed several major expenditures in the general fund for 2011-2012.

Sweeney notes the village hopes to purchase an aerial platform truck for the Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department. That would replace a snorkel truck that's currently some four decades old.

The village is looking at a refurbished truck costing about $145,000 - if approved, it would be paid for with fire department reserves and borrowing.

In other general fund expenditures, the village is considering a $1 million bond as part of a major overhaul of sidewalk infrastructure. The "Rebuild Saranac Lake" effort would begin in the upcoming fiscal year, but payments on the bond would not start until 2012-2013.

Increases to the village's water fund revolve primarily around a project to rehab the water plant building into usable space. This year's fund increases by some $265,000.

Sweeney is anticipating a loss of revenue in the water fund as the village switches from flat rate to metered rate service.

The sewer fund carries a modest increase over current levels, Sweeney says.

When asked if trustees will consider an across-the-board cut or cuts to specific departments to zero-out the proposed tax increase, Mayor Rabideau said he's not yet sure.

"There's nothing specific at the current time," he said. "We're assessing all of the information that was brought to us - the budget is about three inches thick. We're going to go line-by-line and find the areas where we can cut costs without adversely affecting the services that our village residents deserve and need."

Under the tentative budget, the mayor receives a stipend of $5,000 annually and trustees get $2,500.

Trustees will host a public hearing early next week to receive comments on the budget in its current form. Residents can also submit written comment prior to Monday's meeting, scheduled for 5 p.m.

Village Clerk Kareen Tyler says a copy of the tentative budget is available at the village offices and at the Saranac Lake Free Library.

The proposed fiscal plan for 2011-2012 is also available online at www.saranaclakeny.gov.

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