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Last budget of Sullivan has tax cut

In his final budget proposal, outgoing Mayor Michael Sullivan on Monday evening called for a tax cut of $1.85 per $1,000 of assessed valuation for 2011-12.

The proposal results in a general fund of $5.5 million, a 1.3 percent reduction in spending.

The overall tax rate would be $29 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, the same rate Sullivan proposed four years ago.

"The village cannot be exempt from belt-tightening, especially when the tightening does not eliminate any services," the mayor said.

However, Sullivan said he supports the elimination of the newest police post filled a few months ago and proposed the elimination of three vacant Department of Public Works jobs.

The mayor proposes cutting a full-time cleaner for Village Hall, adding that the Department of Public Works could perform cleaning duties once a week.

"The consequences of adding positions can be measured in tax dollars," said Sullivan, who noted a job in the Department of Public Works, "fully loaded with benefits," costs $65,000, or 80 cents per $1,000 in taxes, and a police officer, $72,165, or 87 cents per $1,000.

Overtime, he added, "should be set up as actually needed, not run on autopilot."

The mayor also said he supports sharing costs and services, including water and police, on a regional basis.

"Consolidation, merger, co-terminus, annexation or regionalism -- I don't care what label you put on it, these concepts are our future," he said. "We need to be creative. We need to push the envelope and find regional approaches."

Sullivan also said the village needs to reduce streetlights.

"The orange glow that marks our community from all directions at night is excessive, and we need to examine where we place streetlights and why," he said.

He said he wants a committee organized to examine the size of government.

"Five elected officials, each with a vote -- like a town board and supervisor -- make more sense than our current system and could save further costs."

The budget now is in the hands of the Village Board. A public hearing is scheduled 7:30 p.m. April 11 in Village Hall.

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