March 06, 2012

A special meeting of the Board of Trustees was held on Tuesday, March 6, 2012. Mayor Westcott opened the meeting at 6:45 p.m. Also in attendance were Deputy Mayor Conley, Trustee Blumrick, Trustee Hinkson, Trustee McAvoy, Village Coordinator Dodge, and Clerk-Treasurer Schweigert. Mayor Westcott dispensed with the pledge. Discussed the tax rate. Clerk Schweigert explained to the Board what an equalization rate is and that the equalization rate for the Town of Hartland is now 100 percent (up from 89 percent), and the equalization rate for the Town of Royalton is now 97 percent (down from 100 percent). She presented the Board with the formula from the Niagara County Real Property Tax Office to determine the tax rates based on the equalization rates for the Village. Clerk Schweigert calculated the possible tax rate based on keeping the levy the same as the 2011 – 2012 budget year ($250,023) or keeping the full value tax rate at the same rate as the 2011-2012 rate, which is $9.86 per thousand. Keeping the full value tax rate the same will raise the tax levy to $529,594. The New York State Office of the State Comptroller has calculated that a 2-percent tax levy increase would be $530,807, and if the exempt portion of the retirement bill is included ($6,683), the tax levy could increase to $37,490 without exceeding the 2-percent cap. Discussion ensued regarding which direction the Board wished to take. Mayor Westcott would like to keep the tax levy the same as 2011-2012. Trustee Hinkson observed that with the cost of everything rising, that would be difficult to achieve. The 2012-2013 preliminary budget includes nearly $50,000 in increased spending. Keeping the tax levy the same would make it difficult to meet this spending. Clerk-Schweigert advised she did a quick calculation and found that, at the current rate of revenues and expenditures, the General Fund could have approximately $64,880 in the bank at the end of the budget year. If the tax levy remains the same, the difference between expenditures and revenues will be $113,372, leaving a budget gap of $48,492. If the full value tax rate remains the same, the tax levy will be $529,594, leaving a budget gap of $38,921. Keeping the full value tax rate at $9.86 will cause Town of Hartland residents to see a drop in their tax rate by $1.00; town of Royalton residents will see an increase of 30 cents in their rate. This still keeps us under the 2percent tax cap levy. Clerk Schweigert was instructed to continue calculations of tax levy revenues at the current full value tax rate of $9.86. The Board can change this at the March 19 Board meeting, as nothing has been adopted yet. Discussion ensued regarding explaining the increase in tax rate to Royalton residents, the equalization rates, and the tax levy cap. Determined that Clerk Schweigert will develop a written explanation of these items for the Board to use when explaining these issues to village residents. She will also contact the paper about an article explaining them, too. Trustee Hinkson suggested this be a topic in the 2012 newsletter, as well. Clerk Schweigert will go through the current revenues and expenditures again to see if there could be a change in the end of the year amount in the bank to help close the budget gap. There being no further business, a motion was made by Deputy Mayor Conley, and seconded by Trustee Blumrick, to adjourn. Carried. Meeting adjourned at 8:17 p.m. Respectfully submitted, Rebecca A. Schweigert Clerk-Treasurer
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