The Rouses Point board plans to cut $7,000 from their contribution to the Fourth of July fund to keep the tax levy flat for village.
With an economic outlook that includes the loss of jobs and tax income from the Pfizer facility, the village board is looking at cutting their own pay and dropping nearly all their support for the annual Fourth of July celebration.
“There are places to cut without reducing the services that the village residents are getting,” said Trustee Kelly Penfield. “To me, that's the name of the game.”
The tax rate was scheduled to rise 5 cents per thousand, and would have raised $7,000 for the village coffers.
Trustee Kelly Penfield said that an easy target to eliminate that $7,000 need and keep the levy flat was to take it from the Fourth of July funding.
Removing the village contribution isn't much different from what other municipalities are doing, said Penfield.
“We'll do the best we can with sponsors and volunteers,” said Penfield.
Gerry Favreau, who volunteers to head Fourth of July efforts in the village, was in attendance at the meeting.
She said she's being proactive to cut down on expenses. She asked bands if they could help out with the strapped budget, and they've responded by cutting their fees. The weekend festivities will end Saturday instead of Sunday, too.
Favreau said that in past years, Sunday traffic to the festival offerings has been fairly low. One reason, she said, is that people tend to have parties at home that day.
If they also have to cut back on the fireworks display, then so be it, said Favreau. Trustee Dennis Roberts agreed.
“You know how I feel about fireworks,” said Roberts. “It's money up in smoke.”
The village contribution to the Fourth of July fund will drop to $1,800, plus $400 for the concert in the budget revision.
They've also planned to cut in half their budget for the codes enforcement contract with the town, a job Penfield said is subsidized by the village and not performed adequately.
“It's time for us to say, 'we're not going to pay this anymore,'” said Penfield.
William Maskell, a candidate for trustee who was in the audience for the hearing, suggested that the village board take a pay cut as a show of good faith.
“I'd take less money,” said trustee Brian Jefferson.
“It would go a long way toward showing the public you're at least making an effort,” said Maskell.
Mayor George Rivers, rapidly nearing the end of his time in that office, said his salary should be cut drastically now that he's leaving. When the village lost its administrator, Rivers said he took up those duties. Unless they're going to have a new mayor that's in the office daily like he was, they'll be paid too much.
The village board agreed, and the next mayor's salary will drop from $11,811 to $5,880, only $1,000 higher than the trustees' new salaries.
There was some talk about renewing the village administrator's position, but it will be left to the new board next month.
Jefferson said that he still isn't happy with the large amount of money being drawn from the reserve fund, about $170,000. The village board is spending more than they're authorized to, he said.
“We're not done cutting,” he said.