Public hearing set for Feb. 21 on proposed 2017-18 village budget, possible tax cap override

The village Board of Trustees will hold a public hearing on a proposed budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year and the possibility of exceeding the New York State property tax levy cap to generate more budget revenue.

The public hearing will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 7 p.m., at Village Hall, 1 School St.

What was touted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as a 2 percent tax levy cap when first implemented in 2011, the tax cap for most local governments including Stillwater will fall again in 2017.

The tax cap for counties, towns and small cities will dip to 0.68 percent for the 2017 fiscal year, a drop from 0.73 percent in the current year, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli announced. The cap limits the growth in property taxes to 2 percent a year or the growth of inflation, whichever is lower.

As inflation has fallen in recent years, so too has the tax cap. The 2017 fiscal year will be the fourth consecutive year that local governments have a tax cap less than 2 percent — and the second year in a row the cap is less than 1 percent. The latest tax-cap limit impacts all counties, towns, fire districts, 44 cities and 10 villages.

“This has made it very difficult for municipalities to operate,” said village Mayor Rick Nelson. “We are in process of working on next year’s budget and we want to have this measure in place in case we have to go over the cap.”

To override the tax levy cap of 0.68 percent the village would need a 60-percent vote majority of the Village Board or at least 3 of 5 yes votes.

In other business Jan. 17,

  • Trustee Judith Wood-Shaw told the Village Board that she has been investigating options and prices for purchasing outdoor adult exercise equipment and equipment for senior citizens to add to Major Dickinson Children’s Park as a secondary project. The park was officially dedicated in December, 2015. Wood-Shaw also announced that she is recruiting students to work with senior citizens on their beginning and intermediate computer skills and texting ability at future Senior Time programs.
  • Village Engineer Ed Hernandez reported that Bove Fuels was contacted to schedule the installation of a new above grade petroleum bulk storage tank for the Waste Water Treatment Plant generator. As the fuel supplier for the village, Bove has agreed to provide and install a tank at no charge to the village within the next few weeks. Upon completion of the installation, the existing underground fuel tank will need to be pumped out, cleaned and removed, according to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
  • Trustees discussed what to do about replacing the liner for the village ice rink set up each winter on the basketball courts near the American Legion Post. The liner, which extended above the ground and below the ice, has to be specisl ordered, said Trustee Timothy Campbell, and depending on the size and quality of the material, can cost between $2,400 and $5,000. The other option is repaving the basketball court so the village would no longer need a liner below the ice. Trustees decided to table the matter so it can further investigate the situation.