SILVER CREEK – The village of Silver Creek’s preliminary budget numbers reveal a two-percent tax hike that exceeds the tax cap by $5,000.
A hearing on the budget was held Monday evening prior to the regular meeting. Mayor Nick Piccolo said that board members looked for several ways to cut costs in the 2014-15 budget but that the proposal exceeds the tax cap and calls for an increase of 32 cents in the tax rate.
The proposed rate is $15.98 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The rate would support a budget of $1,279,484. Piccolo said that the water and sewer rates in the budget have not been finalized.
He said water rates could change depending on new charges from the Erie County Water Authority. Piccolo said he also anticipates that sewer charges could be increased to help offset the cost of the improvements at the village’s treatment plant. “There are mandated upgrades at the wastewater treatment plant,” Piccolo said.
He also attributed some increases in costs to the prevention measures taken to avoid flooding. He said that the local creek had to be cleared of ice five times this winter season. He said costs were more than expected even though volunteers assisted with the work and Chautauqua County provided equipment and manpower.
He said employees’ wages were frozen in the new budget plan. Piccolo said that additional meetings will take place with department heads in the next week. Board members are expected to finalize the budget at the meeting in two weeks. The budget for the new fiscal year, which starts on June 1, must be finalized by May 1.
Also at the meeting:
• Silver Creek trustees will be considering the options from two companies on residential garbage pick-up services. Best Way and Casella both submitted bids and alternate prices for five-year contracts. A decision is expected at the next board meeting.
• The bid of $357,425 from United Survey, Inc. was accepted for phase two of the sewer department repairs. Several bids were opened at the last meeting and this was the lowest bid received.
• A motion was approved to contribute $2,000 to the Lakefront Water Revitalization Plan for communities in northern Chautauqua County.
• Piccolo announced that In-Line services has completed the installation of water meters in the village according to their contract. Any resident who has not had a new meter installed should call the village clerk’s office to arrange for village employees to change the meter.
• Piccolo received board members approval to negotiate with two new potential buyers for land at the former village reservoir near Hopper Road. The mayor also will involve the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. Piccolo said the DEC will determine the safety measures for the reservoir site due to the condition of the dam.