Saranac Lake Board of Trustees
Photo by Andy Flynn.
Upon a recommendation from Village Treasurer Paul Ellis, Trustee Paul Van Cott wrote a memo to fellow Village Board members requesting that they create a Finance Committee to look at budget issues throughout the year. The committee would be comprised of Ellis, Village Manager John Sweeney and two board members.
“I do believe that our role in managing the village’s financial direction is one of the greatest values that we, as members of the Village Board, provide to village taxpayers,” Van Cott said during the board’s April 23 meeting.
The Finance Committee is designed so the village can “be more strategic about financial matters and for the Village Board to be more engaged in financial matters year-round.”
The idea was met with unanimous support at the board table.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said Trustee Elias “Allie” Pelletieri. “We need to look at our budget before budget time comes every time, so this will be a structured thing. I know Paul has always said, ‘You’ve got to look at it before the last minute.’ But so many things go on that we never get to it the last minute.”
Having a committee work year-round will make sure Village Board members look at finances well before they traditionally trim the budget every April.
Trustee Tom Catillaz, who spent many years as village mayor, volunteered to be on the committee.
“We should and we can be presented with a budget at budget time that’s complete and not crunch time where, holy cow we have to go through it and go through it and go through it,” Catillaz said. “And when the time comes for the budget, here it is and that’s where we want to be.”
Trustee Barbara Rice called the committee “essential” and said that looking at the budget only at the last minute, before it needs to be adopted by the May 1 deadline, is not the most efficient way to draft a spending plan. She suggested that board members rotate in and out of the committee every year.