Massena readies vote on 2020 budget

Steven D. O’Shaughnessy

MASSENA — Budget season is wrapping up for the Massena Town Council.

After several budget sessions with department heads, board members will be asked to approve Supervisor Steven D. O’Shaughnessy’s preliminary $11.9 million budget during their regular meeting on Wednesday.

Under the preliminary budget, town of Massena residents inside the village would see a 1.5 percent tax levy increase while those outside the village would see a 1.3 percent tax levy increase. The increases are under the state’s 2 percent property tax cap.

“It just goes back to what I’ve always said — I’d rather raise a little bit each year than have nothing,” Mr. O’Shaughnessy said. “We’re building up the fund balance.”

He said, with cuts to the budget, there would be corresponding cuts to services.

“What do you want to cut? We’re going to provide the service or cut the budget,” he said.

Mr. O’Shaughnessy said officials asked department heads to watch their expenses when they submitted proposals for next year, and some had already cut back during the current year.

“We asked them to be careful when they submitted their budget,” he said.

For instance, the Massena Public Library was able to cut back. Now they’re in the initial process of discussing conversion to a school district public library. The town currently provides funding to the library. As a school district public library, taxpayers would have a say in the library’s budget, and it would also be funded by residents from Brasher and Louisville rather than just town of Massena taxpayers.

“They want to be a district. A town of Massena resident should want to be a district. It’s a wider area of people,” Mr. O’Shaughnessy said.

The cost of running the Massena International Airport also went down. Mr. O’Shaughnessy said Boutique Air, the town’s Essential Air Service provider, fuels up its planes exclusively in Massena.

“We’ve also been selling a lot of fuel to private planes. There’s been a huge increase in the amount of fuel that we’ve sold and it continues to grow,” Mr. O’Shaughnessy said.

One of the question marks every year is the cost for the Highway Department. The prices of salt and sand aren’t always known, and there’s maintenance on vehicles and overtime. The early arrival of snow hasn’t helped with those costs.

“Right now they’re not even on shift work. They have to cover the nights with overtime,” he said.

While the town doesn’t fund Massena Memorial Hospital, it still owns the facility. However, voters approved selling the hospital’s assets to St. Lawrence Health System, and that process will be completed following state approval, which could come as early as January.

“We’re working on it, anticipating it was going to go through,” he said.

The gist of it

n WHAT: Massena Town Council members will be asked to approve Supervisor Steven D. O’Shaughnessy’s 2020 budget when they hold their regular meeting on Wednesday

n HOW MUCH: The preliminary $11.9 million budget carries a proposed tax levy increase of 14 percent for town of Massena residents inside the village and 1.3 percent for those outside the village

n MONEY SAVERS: The cost of running the Massena International Airport decreased because of increased sales of fuel to Boutique Air and private pilots

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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(1) comment

rdsouth

I thought you weren't supposed to wear white except in the summer.

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