Fredonia continues work on village budget

The village of Fredonia continues working on its budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The Village Board met Tuesday evening in a workshop meeting for more work on the proposed spending plan.

Since the budget was proposed in March, the village has been able to find $128,000 in cuts. The Village Board was still working on reducing the budget at the workshop. One of those cuts included eliminating $5,500 for dues to Chadwick Bay Regional Development Corp. The village has been paying dues for approximately 10 years and did not pay them last year. Trustee Marc Ruckman voiced his opinion for staying with the organization.

“I think we should stay in it. I think it’s essential to development in this area,” Ruckman said.

The village has been attending meetings for CBRDC and gave their blessing for a recent grant application, even without paying dues for last year. Ruckman was the only trustee in favor of staying in the program. The village took out the amount from the budget. Ruckman also brought up a suggestion to lay off two workers from the streets department. DPW Supervisor Jack Boland and Kent Christopher, who works as a motor equipment operator, gave testimony why the two workers are “essential.”

“They were part of the 13 minimum to run the snow operation … but as far as on an everyday basis, they’re essential for the operation,” Boland said.

Boland said workers have been doing maintenance work within the village and that is keeping the department busy. The department has 15 workers in the department. Minus a secretary, a union member and one worker always in the shop leaves 12 workers to work on various tasks throughout the village. This does not account for vacation or sick time taken by employees at any given time. Boland said each crew that does projects within the village should have five workers.

“We stopped doing projects. … That was my plan for this year, just maintenance,” Boland said.

Christopher said there are still some vacancies in the department due to retirement that have not been filled. He echoed Boland’s statements that any time the department does a project, putting blacktop on roads for example, a crew of five workers is needed. After discussion, the village left the two workers’ pay in the budget for next year.

The village has been working on the budget since February. Trustee Joe Cerrie said starting the budget process early was beneficial, claiming starting early “made a huge difference.” Newly elected Trustee Phyllis Jones said the budget process has been educational.

“It was an educational experience for me. It went a lot better than I thought,” she said.

Village Administrator Rick St. George will continue to work the budget, looking up figures for insurance and current revenues through March for the board. The board is planning on voting on the proposed budget at the Village Board meeting on Monday at 7:30 p.m.

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