Village Trustees pass $1.7 million budget with no tax increase

The Stillwater Board of Trustees unanimously approved a $1.7 million village budget Tuesday night that holds the line on property taxes and water rates for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

The new budget totals $1,723,707 and breaks down as follows:

  • General Fund: $707,450 – up $38,040 from 2012-2013
  • Water Fund: $651,027 – up $8,874 from 2012-2013
  • Sewer Fund: $365,230 – up $$47,935 from 2012-2013 (the increase mainly due to the new debt service incurred on the sewer improvement project)
  • Click here to view the entire 2013-14 budget document

Despite the overall increase from 2012-2013, the village property tax rate will remain the same for the new fiscal year at $3.45 per $1,000 of assessed value, the water usage rate will also remain unchanged at $4.12 per 1,000 gallons, and the special water rent rate will remain at $220 per EDU. The total amount to be raised by property taxes to balance the general fund in 2013-2014 is $287,519.

“It’s a good budget,” declared Mayor Ernest Martin, as he and Trustees answered a number of questions from a group of village residents who went through the document line by line during a public hearing on the budget that lasted for more than an hour.

Trustees, Tuesday night, also unanimously passed the village’s annual reorganizational resolution naming various positions and responsibilities for the new fiscal year.

Under new business, the board heard a report from village contractor James Doyle who has approval to build 39 new homes on about 20 acres called Stillwater Landing at the north end of the village near the school. The project is coming along “pretty darn quick,” he said. Plans are in compliance with NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and he is in the process of ordering piping to lay the water lines. He expects to break ground in a month to six weeks on the first two homes.

He and board members also spent about 30 minutes discussing possible names for the streets within the development. Village Historian Linda Sanders sent a correspondence suggesting the streets be named in honor of three former Stillwater historians, and a fourth after the Dirck Swart House, still standing south of Ferry Lane. The Swart House was the former headquarters of General Philip Schuyler during the Revolutionary War. From that house Benedict Arnold left to Fort Stanwix to stop the British from invading from the west.

After much discussion the group decided on the names – Newland Road, Hayner Court (after an historian) and Swart Road. But a few days following the meeting, and after checking with the Stillwater assessor’s office, it was discovered that the road for the development were already named as Newland Road, Duell Road and Hayner Road.

Village Trustees also heard the following reports/updates at the April meeting:

  • Trustee John Basile reported that the village sewer renovation project is nearly complete and work should resume this week to seal 30 manholes throughout the village and Castle Cliff. He also said a new sewer “gravity” line has to be installed from Barbolt Court to the main on Hudson Avenue but that is awaiting a permit from the NYS Department of Transportation. Work on that project is about a month away. As for the Water Department, Trustee Basile and Mayor Martin attended a town workshop on April 9 to discuss a new town water district that is being discussed. A new District 6 would combine Districts 1, 3 and 4 and be paid for by “pilot money” grants from GlobalFoundries. With the creation of this town water district the village should “prepare itself” that the town may no longer buy water from the village once its contract expires, Basile said.
  • Trustee Ellen Vomacka reported that the village sidewalk construction project near Stillwater Central School will be resuming in May but she didn’t have an official date. The project began last fall and stopped during the winter months.
  • Trustee Judy Wood-Shaw reported that 25 people attended the village’s monthly Senior Socialization program in March (Easter Theme). The program is held 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. the last Friday of each month at The Stillwater Area Community Center it grows in popularity every month. “We’re getting great feedback,” she said. “People tell me they look forward to it every month. They are having fun and that’s what it’s all about.” She also reported she attended an Emergency Management Plan meeting in April featuring a former FAA trainer as guest speaker talking about severe storm formation and recognition. She will also be attending a training class at the community center on May 16 on emergency shelter management
  • The Fire Department responded to three alarms in March including an unattended burn on Major Dickinson and two motor vehicle accidents. Twenty-two firefighters also attended four drills during the month.
  • Department of Public Works crews were busy plowing and salting roads, working on clogged lines at the pump stations, cleaning sidewalks with a pressure washer and street sweeping. Superintendent of Public Works Robert Gerasia told the board there has been problems with village vehicles due to poor gasoline provided by the village Mobil station. He said he suspects there is water in the gas and asked Trustees for permission to use another gas station. Three village trucks are “down” with “clogged” catalytic converters, he said, and it has cost about $3,000 to repair them.