Silver Creek might face tax hike in 2014-2015

SILVER CREEK – A tax hike may be on the horizon for Silver Creek residents in 2014-2015.

The Silver Creek Village Board held a public hearing for a local law to override the tax levy cap.

Resident Donald Palmer asked the board why it is overriding the cap.

“What expenses have resulted in this override?” Palmer asked.

Mayor Nick Piccolo explained the board is not sure what the budget will look like but there are three factors which may result in the village going over the 2 percent cap.

“It is in part due to the compliance projects for the (Department of Environ-mental Conservation) at the wastewater treatment plant. We had to bond for the updates at the plant in order to be compliant. That is the major reason. Also, we have (Federal Emergency Management Agency) money we are still waiting on. We are still hoping it will come in but at this point we are facing a $278,000 shortfall for the (Department of Public Works building) that is due this year. And, it has also been a harsh winter and we had budgeted for an easy winter. Basically, there is no contingency left,” he explained.

The village received the DEC consent order for sewer violations in August 2012. It later hired an engineer, GHD/Wendel. Along with some New York State En-ergy Research and Develop-ment Authority projects, the total cost expected to be financed by the Envir-onmental Facilities Corpo-ration in a long-term, low-interest loan is $5.4 million.

In 2009, a flood ravaged the village and destroyed its DPW and equipment. It later decided to purchase the old Bentges Distribution Building, which lies outside the village, as a replacement for $750,000.

In July, the village received $508,000 in FEMA funds for the building. The village needed to make some changes to building in order to receive the remainder of the funding, most of which has been completed. In November, the village hired Simmons Recovery Consultants to try to recover the remaining FEMA funds.

“Those are the top three reasons we are overriding the cap. We don’t know how much that will be over but we figured; better safe than sorry,” Piccolo said.

Resident and planning board member Sandra Lindstrom asked if the board was passing the override as a safeguard, or if it intended to go over the cap.

“Are you definitely going over the tax cap or is this just in case?” she asked.

Piccolo responded, “At this point it is definitely. We don’t know what the budget will look like but we want to have that ability.”

The village board unanimously passed the local law to override the tax levy cap.

Trustee Thomas Harmon said he is looking forward to starting the budget process and has some new ideas.

“I have some new ideas to bring to the table and I would like to rehash some old ideas,” he said.

Trustee Warren Kelly asked when CSEA negotiations will begin. Piccolo said they are working with a new CSEA representative out of Syracuse and Attorney Dan Gard had just received meeting dates earlier in the day.

Treasurer Janet St. George said department heads have another week to submit budget requests, which will then be presented to the board and given to budget consultant Laura DiNapoli to be calculated.

The village board will meet again on Feb. 18 in observance of the Presidents’ Day holiday.