Massena trustees approve $15.9 million budget plan

Timmy J. Currier

MASSENA — Massena village trustees adopted Mayor Timmy J. Currier’s 2020-21 budget during a meeting on Tuesday.

The $15.9 million budget calls for a 1.69 percent tax levy increase. The tax rate is $16.61 per $1,000 of assessed value, an increase in the tax levy of 20 cents per $1,000. A resident with property assessed at $100,000 would see a $20 increase in village taxes.

Under the property tax cap, Mr. Currier could have potentially raised the budget by $99,141 and stayed below the cap.

“That’s how tight it was to stay below the tax cap, which we currently are,” he said.

Mr. Currier said 78 percent of the village budget is directly related to personnel costs and employee benefits. He said general fund expenses totaled $9,830,519, while revenue totaled $9,580,519, leaving a $250,000 shortfall.

“That identically matches up with the money that I’ve allocated from the fund balance,” he said.

Department heads had submitted requests of $10,316,252, and he allocated $9,830,519.

“By and large, our departments don’t create wish lists. They create budgets that are based upon their needs, our short- and long-term needs,” he said.

Mr. Currier said, when he presents a budget, he often finds himself cutting necessary equipment.

“We have equipment that’s aging. When we cut these new pieces out because we can’t afford them, we see our expenses go up in the area of repairing them. I seem to be saying it every year. I don’t know what’s left. We’re down to people,” he said.

“We learned last year just when we cut a couple services, people call us. They want those services back. So I don’t know what the balance is anymore other than to continue doing what we’re doing,” he said.

He said their expenses continue to increase and revenues are not keeping pace.

“I don’t know what we do in the next five or 10 years. When we look at something, we get a roadblock. Every time we think of a good idea, we hit a roadblock,” he said.

Preparing the budget has been difficult, he said, because of the lack of a state budget, which was due on Wednesday.

Mr. Currier said Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s budget proposal includes $132,671 of aid incentives to the village, a number that hasn’t changed in several years.

“His budget provided a combined $270,000 both in consolidated highway funding and Pave New York funding. He did not include any money in the Extreme Winter Road line,” he said.

The governor had also not included Extreme Winter Road funding in his previous budget, but “the Legislature eventually came through with that,” he said.

“I don’t know... where any of that is going to go right now,” Mr. Currier said.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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