Thursday, October 16, 2008

Woodstock Town Board Meeting, October 1, 2008

This article appeared in the Townsman, October 9 edition

At a special meeting Woodstock town supervisor Jeff Moran presented a tentative budget to the town board, which, if adopted, would increase the general fund levy by 8.8% and the highway levy by 6.3% over the 2008 levy. Plummeting mortgage tax receipts and increased prices for petroleum related products, including black top, were cited as primary reasons for the increases.

The water district will see the user fee increase from $0.28 to $0.32 cents per one hundred gallons (14% increase), and the levy to pay the bond for district improvements will increase from $51,472 to $55,629 (7.2%). Also, the $10.00 base fee charged quarterly to each meter will increase to $15.00. The hamlet sewer district will see no increase in the annual levy, but the user fee will increase from $0.81 to $0.99 (22%) per one hundred gallons. The on-site districts will see their operation and maintenance (O&M) cost increase from $35,062 to $44,598 (27%), but their bond payment reduced by $6000, resulting in an overall district increase of 1.9%. Disposal fees and hiring an additional water/sewer employee were given as reasons for the user fee and O&M increases.

The Woodstock library and fire district budgets, over which the town board has no authority, are increased 0% and 12% respectively. The proposed 2009 town-wide levy, exclusive of special district levies, is $5,837,935, an 8.6% increase over 2008.

Response on the town board to the budget and the message delivered with it was muted, with only general statements with regard to cutting some expenditures, perhaps in medical health insurance costs.

A decision to maintain annual funding in the amount of $10,000 to promote the town was effected by passage of a resolution, subject to permissive referendum. Notice of such resolution will be posted in both the Town's official newspapers. For those not familiar with the procedure of permissive referendum, if approximately 140 residents of Woodstock (the number representing 5% of the number of Woodstock voters participating in the previous gubernatorial election) sign a petition calling for a vote of the proposition the town board would be required to schedule a town-wide vote on the question.

As required by law proposed salaries for Town officials, representing a 5% increase over 2008 salaries, also will be posted in the official newspapers.

The town board scheduled special meetings to discuss the budget with the various department heads, to be held at the Town Offices on October 15 and 17 beginning at 9:00 am. The public is invited to attend.

Public hearings for the water and sewer budgets were schedule for October 21 at the Community Center beginning at 7:30 pm. The public hearing for the town-wide 2009 budget was scheduled for November 12 at the Community Center beginning at 7:30 pm.

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