The North Collins Village Board adopted the 2013-14 budget on April 2. Taxes will rise from the current $12.81 per thousand valuation to $13.10 as the budget-to-budget increase rose 1.5 percent, to create the spending plan of $787,363. The budget’s adoption followed a public hearing which found no one speaking for or against. Mayor Vincent George reported that both the water rates and garbage fees would remain unchanged this year. The meeting launched the first four-year term for a North Collins Mayor and saw Tom O’Boyle return as a trustee with both being installed earlier.
The spending plan offers raises for the village’s four full-time employees and the Village Attorney who will rise from $4,700 to $5,500, but holds the line on the board itself as well as part-time compensation. There could be additional income to receive this year, according to George. The state budget has increased the amount of highway aid to municipalities and in his recent attendance at an Association of Erie County Governments meeting discovered that the under construction flood mitigation project in the village through that organization’s Watershed Committee. Full implementation of an engineering study has been hampered as the village was awarded $100,000 in Community Block Grant funding for the project, only to see the funds held up while need criteria for the area is reassessed. Regardless of outside funding George said, “We promised the residents we would do this project and we will.”
Water savings could also factor in as Public Works Director Michael Perry reported that only 8 million gallons of water could not be accounted for at year’s end after supplying 57 million gallons to 1,500 residents. He said much of that could be attributed to fire suppression and training but the figure is much lower than prior to the new water line installation. Additionally, the pumps are only working half as much previously creating additional savings. Perry also reported that the latest health department report on water quality has been completed and found the system in compliance. He said residents could view the report at the village office or contact him directly with any questions on it. Perry reported that there had been some problems with “staining” in some areas of the village, but a shut down of well #3 and a change in its chemical treatment has the situation remedied. He added that the new pump station and treatment center scheduled to go on line this year should completely eliminate the problem.
George added that sufficient funds remain from the water project to install a new water line along Thiel Road and the board approved the necessary funds for engineering work on the extension.
The board agreed with Perry to acquire a new back hoe from the JCB Co. and lease the unit for five years. The trade in of the village’s current back hoe will cover the first year’s lease and will require a $15,000 payment for each of the next four years. A $1 buyout is available at that time with Perry being confident that it could serve the village for an additional eight or nine years after that.
Code Enforcement Officer Phil Tremblay told the board that he had engaged in positive conversations with the known owners of problem properties and anticipates working on actual schedules for needed repairs to be completed.
Resident Dicci Montaldi, a member of the town planning board, advised that a new town comprehensive plan is being developed and village input would be welcome.
Russ Judson reported that the North Collins Fire Co. would hold a recruitment and retention drive on Saturday, April 27. Additional participation is expected from the Langford-New Oregon and Lawtons Fire Cos. as well as the North Collins Emergency Squad. The day will also give the community an opportunity to dispose of unused or unwanted medications through the village police department.
With O’Boyle seated on the board, he was required to relinquish his seat on the village zoning board. The board appointed Ronald Denne to fill the vacancy.
Trustee Karen Denne reported on progress towards installing hanging baskets along Main Street this summer. She has researched methods, materials and examined the system used in Eden to maintain the plantings. Additional information from local growers will be solicited.
The board agreed to summer hours for employees seeing them work 10 hour days, Monday-Friday. One employee will rotate each week to cover Fridays.
Bills totaling $33,503.90 were approved for payment.
The next village board meeting will be held May 7 at 7 p.m.