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Montgomery reconsiders payback to villages

November 7th, 2012

“It’s still a decrease from last year,” noted Town Councilman Mark Hoyt at the Montgomery Town Board meeting last week. A court decision earlier this year determined that the town had to repay $372,024.97 from the “B” fund (which only town residents pay) to the “A” fund (which both town and village residents pay).

The board is now reconsidering their plan to make the one-time repayment which would result in a tax decrease of 31 percent for that fund and an increase of 15.8 percent for the “B” fund.

Hoyt had suggested that rather than taking such a large sum out of the town’s fund balance all at once, they spread the payment over two years. That would drop the “A” fund tax decrease to less than 17 percent and the “B” fund increase would drop half a percent to 15.3.

The overall tax increase would remain under the two percent tax cap. Hoyt noted that the only way to decrease the “B” fund would be to apply the fund balance toward the “B” fund, which technically “owes” the other fund already.

“I don’t know, maybe we should just leave it the way it was,” said Hoyt.

Town Supervisor Mike Hayes noted after the meeting that the proposal would have to be discussed with the town attorney as he was unsure if the town could spread the payment over multiple years.

During the public hearing, Tom Steed of the Senior Independence Project Committee asked the board to increase the program’s funding to raise the amount of employee hours to 15 per week.

Hayes noted that the owners of Coldenham Cemetery have approached the town about possible town support, and that if they choose to provide it, the other four within the town will likely seek that support as well.

The board also discussed the increases requested by the libraries in Walden and Montgomery. Hayes said the Walden library has not received an increase in three years and he could not remember the last time they gave an increase to Montgomery.

“They’ve gone several years without an increase, I’m in favor,” said Town Councilman Dan Dempsey, Jr.

The board also discussed a possible promotion and additional positions for the highway department. They noted that they currently are not creating any full-time positions, only part-time, due to the cost for benefits of full-time employees. The board proposed hiring two new part-time employees, but to hold off on promotions that would create new full-time positions.

Highway Superintendent Charles Woznick noted that the department has a lot on its plate and they are in need of some additional workers to help maintain the 65 miles of road and 35 acres of land within the town.

Woznick noted that much of their time and costs come from maintaining the parks in the town, from mowing to maintenance and improvements.

It was suggested that perhaps town park work done by the highway department be billed as a townwide expense, and not simply highway.

The public hearing on the budget was held open for their next meeting, this Thursday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. It is their intention to adopt the budget at their meeting on Nov. 15.

In other business, the board voted to surplus six vehicles and set a bid opening date for Nov. 27 at 3 p.m. They also authorized Melick to spend up to $10,000 to purchase a van, outfitted as for a contractor with cage and rubber flooring, for animal control.

By Rachel Coleman

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