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Higher revenue trims planned spending hike

A 2007-08 budget with an increase in spending of just under one percent is what is on the table before Silver Creek Village Board members.

During a public hearing Thursday, Mayor Kurt Lindstrom reviewed the spending plan with five community residents. Village Treasurer Janet St. George answered several questions about the proposal.

"We received a windfall of about $200,000 this year and we aren't going to enjoy it in future years," Trustee David Fancher said.

Increased property tax assessments brought in new revenue. The increase in projected revenue will allow the village to plan for some costs that were larger than expected. Lindstrom noted the benefits and retirement portion of the budget requires additional funding.

The infusion also is moving officials to return some funds to reserve accounts that had been depleted in the past, former Mayor Ed Newman said.

Newman said there is $10,000 in an account toward a new fire truck.

Lindstrom said the village still lacks funds for a new roof on the municipal building. The project is on hold for the second year in a row.

Lindstrom said there is no projected rate increase for water bills but he would not guarantee the rate would not increase if Erie County passes along another increase. Newman said historically, the rate has increased about 4 percent a year.

Steve Waugh, a former village employee, posed several questions about the budget. He noted that village clerk office employees receive a $250 clothing allowance. Although the allowance is understandable for employees who work outdoors during cold weather, he said, it is not needed for office employees.

There was $500 included in the budget for the purchase of land. Newman said the board hopes to acquire a piece of land on Oliver Street and will be required to pay back taxes to Chautauqua County.

Waugh also questioned Highway Department resurfacing money. Lindstrom agreed to check into the totals for the department that may have included revenue from the state for road resurfacing reimbursement.

Police Chief Louis Pelletter urged the board members to gather all department heads and ask that the budget be trimmed even further to show no increase in spending.

"I think future budgets should be reduced by 1 or 2 percent," Pelletter said.

The board is expected to act on the budget at its next meeting in May.

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