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Heuvelton passes $1.2 million spending plan

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HEUVELTON – The village passed a $1.2 million budget for 2013-2014 fiscal year Tuesday which includes a $4,624 increase in the tax levy but decreases the tax rate by more than $1 per thousand.

The budget, a $195,000 increase over the this year’s spending plan, sees the tax rate drop from $11.05 per $1,000 of assessed property value to $9.60 per thousand. The total the village will raise through taxes is $236,223.

Village clerk Joyce Bickel said the tax rate decrease won’t mean big savings for homeowners.

“People are really not going to see a big drop in their taxes because their assessed value went up [this year],” she said.

Sewer rates for village residents will increase by $24 per year, to $492, under the new budget, a direct result of the sewer project the village is starting this summer, according to Mayor Barbara A. Lashua.

The planned $3 million rehabilitation of the village’s sewer system is due to begin in July and continue into the fall.

With the village’s new budget, the village’s water rate will remain at $260 per year. Village residents will also continue paying $72 for trash pickup.

One of the factors contributing to the increase in this year’s budget is the planned purchase of a garbage truck.

“The current one is reaching the end of the useful life for us,” Mrs. Lashua said.

The village’s current truck isn’t capable of picking up recyclables while picking up general trash, Mrs. Lashua said, requiring the village to make more trips and spend more money on fuel.

“With the new truck we’ll be able to do one sweep,” Mrs. Lashua said.

The village plans on selling the current truck and using whatever money it gets from the sale to help purchase a new one.

The village’s five full-time employees also received raises this year amounting an average of $.50 more per hour, Mrs. Bickel said.

“We have a terrific crew of employees and we need to keep it so that they’re interested in staying with the village,” Mrs. Lashua said. “The community gets a good bang for their buck with the employees that we have.”

The new spending plan also uses $45,000 from the village’s fund balance. How much fund balance that appropriation leaves will not be calculated until the village closes the books on the current year, Mrs. Bickel said.

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