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Springville passes annual budget, stays below tax cap

SPRINGVILLE — Springville residents will see their property taxes increase 1.9 percent or 31 up cents from last year, in accordance with a 2.39 percent property tax levy. That works out to $16.27 per $1,000. This year, the tax levy is 2.39 percent or $1,659,396 for the village, $1,003 less than last year. This comes in at $8,129 lower than the New York state-imposed tax cap of 2.89 percent. Local Law 2013A would have allowed the village to override that cap, but the village did not decide to do so, in keeping with its historic dedication to stay beneath that cap.

“It’s very important to note that, throughout the budget process, the village trustees asked the departments to budget accordingly, which is less than last year,” Springville Mayor William Krebs explained, during his budget proposal presentation at the April 7 board meeting. “There are lots of ways to look at a budget. One of them is how much money have we got to spend.”

He noted that the village has been budgeting according to its fund balance, which comes from property taxes and other revenues. Of those revenues, 57 percent comes from the property taxes.

The tax levy has increased 3.5 percent, during the last 15 years, according to Krebs’ data. Of that, 1.6 percent has occurred, during the last six years. That’s due to the tax property cap imposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Krebs also noted that the tax freeze imposed by Cuomo’s proposed 2014 state budget is on the village’s radar, but that the trustees do not yet know how the village plans to deal with that.

“Over the next few years, we are going to have to talk about how we’re going to implement that tax freeze,” Krebs explained. “But we’re just not sure how that’s going to play out, yet.”

During his budget presentation, Krebs noted that this year, the village saw a half-percent increase in tax valuation, which means there is slightly more taxable property in the village than last year. The total taxable valuation is $101,491,543. The village has shown a flat growth trend, so Krebs said that while one year cannot be considered a trend, it is good news for the village.

In accordance with that, Krebs said that the property values in the village have remained somewhat flat for the past three years, which he called “a major concern.

“In other areas, property values have increased, over the years, which gives them more taxable property to work with. We don’t have that in Springville,” Krebs said.

He noted that, of the property within the village borders, 34 percent are currently assessed as being exempt from property tax. There are 17 percent that are partially exempt and 6 percent that are wholly exempt, which includes churches and the Springville-Griffith Institute school district properties.

“It’s one of the things to keep an eye on, because [taxable property] is a main source of revenue coming into the village. We have to keep an eye on it at every level of government, since the county government owns tax liens.

“The trick in budgeting for a municipality is looking at long-term trends,” Krebs noted. “Here in Springville, we budget for the fiscal health of the municipality.”

He said that the fiscal data shows a need to develop growth plans for economic development and partner with “every kind of agency that we can, both private and government.”

The budget passed unanimously, with Trustee Rob Moriarty abstaining, since he was not in office during the budget process.

“I’d like to congratulate the board for passing this budget,” said Trustee Terry Skelton, after the vote. “It was a difficult budget, this year, and it’s only going to get harder.”

Moriarty, Krebs and Skelton were also sworn in during the meeting. Moriarty abstained from voting this month, in order to educate himself on the issues at hand, before offering his vote.

“I’d like to thank the board members for their warm welcome and for all of your help, so far,” said Moriarty. “I look forward to working with you in the future.”

The board also held its annual organizational meeting on April 7, during which annual appointments were made. Skelton was appointed deputy mayor and deputy chairman of union negotiations, Johanna Healy was re-appointed as village attorney, Michael Willibey was appointed as emergency services coordinator, Trustee Nils Wikman was appointed as trust and agency and Timothy Frank was appointed as acting justice. Krebs was appointed chairman of union negotiations and Deborah Barone was appointed village prosecutor, with Michael Barone as deputy village prosecutor.

M&T Bank, First Niagara and Chase Manhattan Bank were named as official depositories, Freed & Maxick, P.C. was appointed the official auditing firm and the Springville Journal was named as the official newspaper of the village.

Darlene Schweikert was named as the official registrar, for a term from April 8, 2014-April 6, 2015 and Dave Batterson was appointed as village historian, for the same term.

Ken Heidle was appointed to the planning board, for a five-year term; Tim O’Neal was appointed to the zoning board, for a five-year term; Robert Runge was appointed to the Historic Preservation Commission, for a four-year term; John Baronich, Robbin Hansen, O’Neal, Skelton and Claudia Wolniewicz were appointed to the Americans with Disabilities Act committee; Krebs was appointed affirmative action officer and Krebs and Skelton were appointed to the discrimination/harassment committee.

The board also set its schedule for the next fiscal year, which will remain the first and third Monday of each month.

The next meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on April 21 at 65 Franklin St. in Springville.

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