Swearing in the newly elected Village officials and presenting the 2009-2010 Preliminary Budget were the highlights of the April 14 Village of Larchmont Board meeting.
“Nothing has changed since the first public hearing on the budget,” said Village Treasurer Denis Brucciani as he introduced the latest version of the budget. All the data are the same. The tax increase is considered modest at 2.44%. “We plan to spend less, $79,319, down .53% from last year, but our revenues are also down over $300,000, requiring the small tax increase,” he said. The decrease in revenues comes mainly from less interest income, transportation and parking meter fees, sales tax, mortgage tax and permit fees. For details, see VOL Tentative Budget Boosts Tax Rate 2.4%.
|New Building Department Hours: Beginning May 1, the office will be closed every Wednesday from 10:00-4:30 to conduct code enforcements, update the inspection process, and increase efficiency. On other days, the office will be open 8:30 to 4:30.Turf Field Tests: Mr. Millstein reported that recent testing for zinc and lead in the run-off from the artificial turf in Flint Park found amounts of those substances were too low to measure and there was no danger present. “We are aware that these fields are said to have a useful life of 12-15 years, and we plan to test annually,” he added.No Pay for the Board: Regarding a proposal that board members receive compensation for their services, Mayor Feld said she does not think now is the time to burden taxpayers with this additional expense. However, there may be ways to buy into a health plan, where needed.It’s Official: Following a request from the Larchmont Historical Society to designate an official tree, Mayor Feld announced the selection of the larch tree.
* Westchester Review Presentation April 19, 4:00 Larchmont Temple: Local authors read their works
* Arbor Day Celebration April 24, 3:00, Turtle Park, includes free ice cream
* Memorial Day Parade May 31, 7:00 pm starts near Larchmont Train Station, to Palmer Avenue and down Larchmont Avenue.
Police Department Awards at Village Hall precede the parade at 5:30
There were no members of the public present to comment on this budget presentation, but Trustee Jim Millstein thanked the treasurer and all the department heads for their hard work.“This budget has the greatest clarity of any I have yet seen,” he said.
“There is very little here that is not represented by people costs,” said Mayor Feld. Recent negotiations resulted in both the Police and Fire Department employees agreeing to pay 25% of their health care costs, which enabled the Village to realize some savings. She said she will be meeting with department heads to identify programs that might qualify for government funds.
“There needs to be a re-evaluation of how services are delivered,” she added. “We all agree that currently our services are excellent. We want to keep them at a high level but at a lower cost.” She said she wants to get concrete facts and find out what level of service would be acceptable.
Mr. Millstein said he was invited to do an LMC-TV show with Tom Murphy, a trustee of the Mamaroneck Village Board. (Mr. Murphy announced this week he was running for Mamaroneck Town supervisor.) “We’ll be looking at ways to improve the level of service in our area at lower cost,” said Mr. Millstein. He indicated that he studied what could be achieved by merging Town and Village services and concluded there could be some savings. Larchmont and Mamaroneck Town already share sanitation services, but police, fire, and public works are operated independently. “It takes two to tango,” he quipped, indicating that cooperation will only occur when all parties agree to it.
Mayor Feld pointed out that Rye Town Supervisor Joe Carvin is looking into consolidation of serivces and eliminating some government entitities entirely, due to what he feels is the “unsustainability” of so many layers of government. One idea he is investigating is dissolving Rye Town.
Long time Village residents may recall that the topic of consolidation of services and political divisions has been examined by the League of Women Voters and all local political entities off and on over the last 40 years or more.
The next public hearing on the Village budget is Monday, April 27; the board must adopt a final budget by April 30.