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Town Board approves 2023 budget: Promises further discussion of mooring issues

As expected, the Town Board Friday unanimously adopted a $14.6 million budget for 2023, raising spending by 4.9%.

The vote was 4-0, with Deputy Supervisor Amber Brach-Williams absent from the special meeting.

A public hearing on the budget had been held on Nov. 10 with the only major discussion centered around proposed mooring fees, and costs that the Town Board originally planned to pay by charging fees. Councilman Jim Colligan noted adjustments were made to both fees and ways of paying for expenses. But he said that didn’t change the amount of the overall budget or the amount of the spending increase.

Waterways Management Advisory Council (WMAC) members were outspoken about the level of increased fees and how they were proposed to be used. Committee Chairman John Needham was not pleased with the adjustments, particularly with costs affecting commercial mooring holders whose added cost of operating their businesses couldn’t be passed on to customers if they were to remain competitive.

His reference was largely a decision to lower some of the original proposed mooring fees, scaling them back to $250 for an annual mooring fee, and $150 for a residential mooring fee. Mooring fees hadn’t been changed in years and were much lower, with renewals coming every three years, instead of every year.

There was a point when the Town Board had discussed a commercial mooring fee as high as $600 annually.

There were some other smaller adjustments in the budget draft, but none of the changes resulted in affecting the overall amount of the budget.