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Supervisor Siller proposes $10.6 million town budget

If a 2022 budget draft created by Supervisor Gerry Siller were adopted without change, it would come in at $10.61 million, representing a 4% increase in spending.

For the first time in Town Board memory, a budget proposal submitted by a supervisor has come in relatively low with Councilman Jim Colligan noting that, most years, a supervisor’s budget comes in at increases nearer to 20% requiring major efforts by the rest of the Town Board to find massive cuts.

Beginning this morning, the Town Board will begin scrutinizing Mr. Siller’s budget draft with an eye to finding cuts in an effort to stay within the state-imposed 2% tax cap.

The major amount of money is traditionally allocated to two departments, Police and Highway, and this year, because of additional recommendations, Mr. Siller is adding Emergency Medical Services.

Working with Deputy Supervisor Amber Brach-Williams and account clerk Shelby Mundy, the supervisor said his draft is aimed at “beefing up specific areas of Town government” while “addressing some salary inequities.” 

Most raises will fall between 2 and 5%, Mr. Siller said.

To achieve that end, he is recommending expanding a practice started this year of raising user fees as a means of generating revenue. The result is that those who benefit from some town services would pay for them instead of burdening all property owners. He is also projecting increased revenues from mortgage taxes, parking permits and landfill revenues.

“These are conservative projections,” Mr. Siller said about his estimates of increases. He is basing them on revenues from these sources to date while pointing out the estimates are at that level even though they should be higher for a whole year in 2022.

“We should easily exceed these projections,” he said about the anticipated revenues in his draft.

He also calls for transferring waterways related costs to revenues generated by the Waterways Management Advisory Council rather than from property taxes.

At the same time, he is recommending some new hires and moving a part-timer to a full time job.

His budget draft calls for hiring an administrative assistant to serve him and the Town Board at a $45,000 salary.

“The needs and responsibilities of Town government continue to grow, and it is incumbent on us to provide the proper staffing to be able to best serve the public,” Mr. Siller said.

Senior Building Inspector Chris Tehan is retiring and the supervisor is recommending that part-timer Brett Poleshuk become a full-time building inspector. To enhance enforcement of town laws, he is seeking a full-time code enforcement officer and a part-time clerk in that department.

The budget draft also calls for purchase of a second electric car for the department.

A major addition to the budget, “both financially and conceptually,” is his proposal to create a new position in the Emergency Services Department.

There are some retirements pending among the volunteer staff and a need for critical care oversight, Mr. Siller said. He’s proposing paid Advanced Life Support coverage to be provided for up to 12 hours per day every day of the week.

He suggesting raising fees for contractor licenses from $100 for two years to $250 for one year. 

Mooring fees that haven’t gone up in 22 years would be raised by $25 per year for each mooring.

Certain permit fees would also be raised in line with recommendations from the Building Department.

Commercial landscapers would be charged for dumping leaves and clipping at the landfill.

“I believe these fees are all part of the cost of doing business.” He speculated the added contractor and landscape fees would be passed to specific customers, as opposed to taxing all property owners.