Lake Placid village board set to approve 2014-15 budget

LAKE PLACID – The village board is expected to approve the 2014-15 budget at its next board meeting at 5 p.m. on June 30.

“The board continues to hold work sessions on this budget,” said village Mayor Craig Randall. “We held one on June 10 and the second one this afternoon.”

The village’s tentative budget proposes a tax increase within the tax cap. General fund spending is $5,811,156, an increase of about $102,000 from the current fiscal year. Village officials plan to appropriate $38,000 from the fund balance to the budget. The property tax levy would increase by $55,000, and the estimated tax rate per $1,000 of assessed property value is proposed at $5.77.

The village currently has a total of $16.7 million in debt, and the fund balance reserve is $3 million.

“The board is considering some revisions; so far they are not going to be revisions that are substantial,” Randall said. “We are staying within the tax cap – I am happy to say that – without any surprises.”

The long winter cost the village more than it had anticipated, Randall said. He is budgeting for normal winter expenses in the new budget.

Health insurance cost

A driver of expense in the village budget is health insurance costs, Randall said. Village Treasurer Peggy Mousaw said the increase will be 14 percent.

“I wish these double-digit rate increases would stop hitting us, but those we have no control over,” Randall said.

The village board discussed remedies to the health insurance cost at a work session before to the meeting. The police department’s retiree costs were a focus of the conversation.

“The police department is the one department in the village where individuals can retire at less than 65 years of age, and many of them retire in their 40s to mid 50s,” Randall said at the work session.

The board discussed the idea of a retiree pension buyout, to reduce the village’s burden in the long term.

Village employees

Village personnel will stay the same with no staff cuts. Randall said he believes the village is well staffed.

“I think all of our departments have been asked to do more and take on more responsibility,” he said. “That’s a trend that we are very proud of, to maintain the service level.”

Two staff promotions are also included in the budget.

Sewer rates to increase

Sewer rates will be reviewed by the board later this year after the sewer trunk line project is complete.

“We will be recognizing new debt for that project and that will have an impact,” Randall said. “It will result in some increase in the sewer rate -?that I am confident of.”

We are fortunate we haven’t faced the difficulties so many other municipalities have been faced with in their budgets,” he added.