Potsdam adopts 2020 budget

Market Street in Potsdam. W.T. Eckert/Watertown Daily Times

POTSDAM — Town Board members Wednesday night adopted their $4.1 million budget, which was previously referred to as “not particularly exciting” outside of remaining below the state-mandated 2 percent tax cap.

The 2020 budget only slightly differs from the 2019 budget with an approximate $10,000 decrease from $4,115,640.01 to $4,105,618.78.

The information cited in this story comes from a review of the preliminary budget. A copy of the adopted budget will be available at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, but the numbers were the same, Supervisor Ann M. Carvill said.

The adoption of the budget came following a scheduled 6:30 p.m. public hearing where St. Lawrence County Legislator David Haggard, D-Potsdam, told the board it would be his position at the county that there would be no reduction in the percentage of sales tax to the towns and villages he represents.

“My point is that I don’t believe that the county, even though we received some unfunded mandates, should pass them down to the communities,” he said following the meeting.

Other noteworthy budget items included the tax rate, which decreased from $443 per $100,000 in 2019 to $439.80 per $100,000 in 2020, based on the preliminary budget.

The tax base has increased from $1,184,766,604 in 2019 to $1,193,005,292.

Mrs. Carvill will see an increase in her salary from the $16,450 in the 2019 actual budget to $23,000 in the adopted 2020 budget.

During budget workshops, board members praised Mrs. Carvill’s work and dedication.

“I am a personal believer that we should pay people at least $15 an hour so that’s $23,400,” Councilwoman Toni A. Kennedy said during the Sept. 24 budget workshop where the change was made. “So I would be comfortable raising it higher than $20,000 just for I think you should be getting paid what you deserve.”

Mrs. Carvill said she puts in office and field time.

“I probably put in between 15 to 20 (hours) in the building but then outside meetings and studying . . . To me it’s like a three-quarters job, so it’s about 30 hours,” Mrs. Carvill said during the Sept. 24 workshop.

“And it’s not digging ditches,” Councilwoman Judith Rich said. “She’s got to be 110 percent up here all of the time when she is doing it.

“You know, I’m glad you’re running again, because I think, the way the job is now, it is going to get somebody to do it and to do it correctly and to do it with what it requires,” Ms. Rich said.

The board all agreed on $23,000.

A contractual expense under the supervisor category jumped from $6,000 to $9,000 for staffers interested in going to annual conference, which costs about $1,500 a person.

The town has no new contracts and, with the retirement of a longtime employee, Mrs. Carvill said there was “some breakage” in the budget, meaning there would be some savings with the new employee being paid a lesser annual income.

“All offices stayed within their contractual budgets,” she said previously. “There’s nothing really exciting about this budget except for the tax cap, really.”

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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