Village of Massena trims tax levy increase to 6.3 percent
Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 5:29 pm

By ANDY GARDNER

MASSENA -- The tax levy increase under the village's 2014-2015 spending plan has been pared down to 6.3 percent, according to Village Treasurer Julie Sharlow.

The original budget called for a 9.7-percent hike.

Under the revised blue print, the tax rate is $15.22 per $1,000 of assessed value. This means the owner of a $50,000 home can expect to pay $761 in property taxes and the owner of a $100,000 home should be billed $1,522.

The new cuts came entirely from the Massena Village Police budget. Chief Timmy Currier said he was able to trim least $84,000.

"I think we can sustain these cuts with minimal impact to services and that was the goal," the police chief said. "I fully recognize this was a tough budget year and we have to make a tough decision."

Currier will save $34,000 by replacing a retiring officer with a new replacement who will be paid entry-level salary.

"It saves base salary and there's a ripple effect through the budget with overtime," according to Currier.

He said he is also working on other cost-saving measures with the union that represents Massena's police officers, but he couldn't get into specifics because it is still in negotiation.

The police department is putting off until next year the purchase of a new Ford Explorer patrol vehicle, which will save $38,054, Currier said.

He said they have two vehicles with over 100,000 miles and will find ways to get them through until next year.

"We'll reduce miles and double up patrol officers when we can," Currier said.

His final measure was to slash the department's overtime budget by $12,225.

The tentative budget includes a 10.4 percent raise to Sharlow's personal services line item, but she is not getting a 10.4 percent salary bump. The hike includes seven vacation days which she will be reimbursed, overtime compensation and a contractually obligated 2-percent raise.

"I wasn't able to take much vacation last year … I know I'm not going to be able to take all my vacation this year," Sharlow said.

The village may vote to approve a final budget on April 23.