Village budget has 0 tax increases

You are currently viewing Village budget has 0 tax increases
Granville Village Board members Lisa Ackert and Dean Hyatt, mayor Paul Labas, board members Gordon Smith (via FaceTime on iPad) and Dan Brown.

For perhaps the first time in half a century, the Granville Village Board approved a 2022-23 budget with no tax increase whatsoever, a feat described as “amazing” by resident John Freed.

The action followed a public hearing at which no one spoke.

In an April 5 follow-up email, village clerk Rick Roberts said that to his and previous village officials’ knowledge, this is the first budget since 1989 where the general fund has a 0% tax increase under the Pat Muller administration.

“I am not aware if this is the first time that all three funds are seeing a 0% increase, but I would speculate with a high degree of certainty that this is likely the first time in 50-plus years that all of the municipal rates are 0%,” Roberts said. “This includes rates for the town, county, school, village, water and sewer.”

Mayor Paul Labas said he is proud of the board’s collaborative efforts to pull off the feat of having no tax increase in the general, sewer and water funds.

“There is a 0% tax increase across the board, all departments are funded,” Labas said. “I want to thank the board for working so hard on this and everyone, the department heads especially, who did a lot of number crunching on this.

“It looks very good for the village of Granville,’ Labas said. “Our fiscal debt score has dropped tremendously, everything is pointing in a good direction for the village.”

The budget is set at $1,594,895 in appropriations for the general fund (an increase of $31,893 from the current budget), $585,700 for the sewer fund (a decrease of $6,500) and $427,250 for the water fund (a $12,000 decrease).

The water rate is listed at $290 per year and the sewer rate at $405 per year again.

With an increase of more than $10 million, the village’s assessed valuation is listed at $113,836,688. The tax rate has decreased from $11.92 to $10.80.

Village constituent John Freed spoke openly during the public comment session to commend the board for its efforts.

“I just want to congratulate the board on a 0% increase, I think that’s pretty amazing,” Freed said. “I’ve been here 62 years, I can’t remember, it would be interesting if the Sentinel could even find it, I can’t remember another zero percent (year). There’s been a lot of single-digit years certainly, but I’ve never heard of a 0% percent year.

“And if you put that on top of the current world environment, U.S. environment and inflation rate that we’re at, kudos to you all. That’s pretty amazing to come back with 0%, and (kudos) to your department heads as well. I’m just really, really impressed it’s not a half or 1%, you got it all the way to zero. You can’t do better than zero except going negative!”

Carrying on with the April 4 monthly meeting, the board ratified a list of annual appointments including its official depository, meeting schedule (first Monday of every month excluding holidays), procurement policy, mileage allowance, standing committees, mayoral appointments and the village newspaper.

Labas nominated Curt Pedone as local ordinance officer, Nancy Quell as dog control officer, Pamela Martindale as court clerk and Paul Manchester as acting village justice, all for tenures of one year.

“Planning Board members for five years, Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) members, Mary Warner (planning board chair) and Bob Sheridan (ZBA chair) for five years,” Labas said.

After unanimously approving the Granville Sentinel as its village newspaper, the board made public its concerns with “controversial” content.

“Well, it’s not like we have too many options,” board member Dean Hyatt said.

“We’ve got the Post Star,” Labas said.

“I will say for the record, we’ve had a paper in this community forever,” Hyatt said. “There’s been some pretty controversial editorials from time to time but they were pretty good editorials, right or wrong if you liked them (or not), they were good editorials. But along with the bad news, they always brought the good news. It always seems like you guys (NYVTmedia) can never find the good news about us, but you always try to create your own news all the time. That’s my only comment about the Granville Sentinel, which has been a long-standing institution in this community.”

“There’s no other option,” said board member Lisa Ackert.

In regard to standing committees, board member Gordon Smith, who was present via FaceTime, was appointed as deputy mayor, police commissioner and to oversee village equipment, animal control, Time Warner Cable, the Veterans Memorial Park concert series and the senior shuttle.

“Trustee Hyatt, again, water treatment plant, department of public works (DPW), water and sewer commission, fire departments and the ZBA,” Labas said.

“Trustee (Dan) Brown, sidewalks, Pember Library, village municipal center, ordinance enforcement, streetlights and street cleaning. Trustee Ackert, you’ll have the planning board, holiday celebrations, the Slate Valley Museum, village property maintenance, recreation commission and new business for the village of Granville.”

Looking ahead, the board announced the spring leaf and brush collection schedule for the DPW to take place every Monday starting April 11 until May 23.

“Leaves should be placed in clear plastic or brown paper bags, while brush should be bundled into lengths not exceeding four-feet,” Labas said. “Those wishing service on any other dates can contact the DPW at 518-642-1815 or the clerk’s office at 518-642-2640.”

The board announced the annual fireworks show to take place at Granville Little League on June 30 and the 2022 summer concert series at Veterans Memorial Park to take place on Thursdays from June 30 to Aug. 18.

Two requests for usage of Veterans Memorial Park were made and approved.

The first will see a sunrise service on April 17 from 7 a.m. to 7:40 a.m. put on by the Ecumenical Council.

The second will be a free concert performed by indie gospel recording artist Tammy Renee, sponsored by the Granville Baptist Church on Aug. 6 at 3 p.m.