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Sackets Harbor passes 2013-14 budget, talks zoning draft

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SACKETS HARBOR — Village residents will see a slight decline in their property taxes and water rates after the Board of Trustees passed its 2013-14 budget Tuesday.

The tax rate is $2.80 per $1,000 of assessed value, a 1.75 percent decrease from last year’s rate of $2.85. The levy will fall 1.2 percent, from $367,136 to $362,592.

Mayor F. Eric Constance said the board’s concern for the past few years has been ensuring a proper level in the fund balance.

“I think we’ve worked to get it up there,” he said.

A decrease in projects taken on with supporting grant funding means general fund appropriations will be down 25.5 percent, from $2,107,898 to $1,570,308.

The water rate will fall from $125 to $115 per quarter, with the village increasing the amount of water that can be used without an additional fee from 5,000 gallons to 6,000 gallons.

The quarterly sewer rate will drop from $150 to $145.

Among the costs listed for this year were $120,000 for sewer lift station renovations, $81,000 for a new dump truck, $36,000 for a new fuel depot and $25,000 for work on the village’s trails.

The village also will commit about $16,000 to support renovations at the Pickering Beach Museum, West Main Street, after discovering a bank account with money willed to the village to support such work.

The village’s five full-time employees will receive a 4-percent raise.

Mr. Constance noted that the village had found savings in both its insurance and electrical costs, along with refinancing for projects it had underway.

Planning Board Chairman Gary M. Gibson questioned the village’s efforts to update its zoning map, saying he had found multiple issues in the draft, such as wording that would add extensive time and costs for most property upgrades.

The allegation drew a heated rebuttal from David W. Altieri, the village’s heritage area director, who claimed the current draft reflected several public comment sessions.

“I want to hear what will make this possible,” he said. “If there is a problem with this, let’s get them dealt with.”

Mr. Constance said the draft would be reviewed over the next two to three months.

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