Silver Creek ‘trims fat,’ still over cap

SILVER CREEK – Although the Silver Creek Village Board reportedly “trimmed a lot of fat,” the tentative budget presented Monday was still over the 2 percent tax cap.

Mayor Nick Piccolo said after the expensive winter, project obligations and a lack of contingency funds, the tax increase was “unavoidable.”

The proposed tax levy for 2014-2015 is $1,279,484, that is $5,000 over the tax cap limit. Piccolo said this raises the levy by 2.04 percent from last year.

If passed, this would equate to a tax rate of $15.98 per thousand assessed value, 31 cents more per thousand than last year.

This would mean a house assessed at $75,000 would pay $1,198.50 in village taxes, up $23.25 from the 2013-2014 rate.

Piccolo thanked the board for its hard work on the budget.

“I want to commend the board for putting their heads together to keep the budget affordable. We tried to stay under the tax cap but that was hard to do especially with the winter we had,” he said.

Piccolo said had it not been for the contractor fees to clear the ice from the creek and the overtime, the village would have had a surplus from 2013-2014, but ended up over spending.

He said the board cut thousands from the budget to get where it is now.

“We trimmed a lot of fat to get where we are at. When we started we were close to $100,000 over the cap amount. Now we are only $5,000 over and that was through good management and working together,” Piccolo said.

He added there are still several unknowns to be finalized before the budget is adopted including CSEA negotiations, meetings with department heads about cuts and Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program funding.

A budget must be approved by the board’s May 5 meeting.

The board also received two bids for trash collection from Bestway Container Service and Casella Waste Systems including alternate bids for biweekly pickup. Bestway’s bids came in lower, but the board decided to table the bids in order to look over the offers and discuss the matter further.

Piccolo said the village’s contract with Bestway expires in July but the board decided to put the service out to bid in order to see if it could save any money.

Treasurer Janet St. George said the village could save $60,000 a year out of its budget if it eliminated garbage pickup, but it is a service residents expect the village to provide.

She said the clerk’s office sells marked garbage bags to offset the tipping fees, but it is time consuming to separate the bags for sale.

The board also approved the bid from United Survey Inc. in the amount of $357,425 for phase 2 of the sewer repair project.

Piccolo said this project is moving along.

The board committed the $2,000 toward the Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan.

Piccolo said the board budgeted for the expense.

The board will meet again on April 21.