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Board holds hearing on Keefe's budget

The Fredonia Village Board held a public hearing Monday night on the tentative budget presented last week by Mayor Stephen Keefe.

His proposed spending plan called for a general fund increase of $1.25 per $1,000 assessed value and an increase of 20 cents per 1,000 gallons used in both sewer and water rates.

The board of trustees has been reviewing that budget and already has made cuts to lower the proposed tax rate. No details were given.

The board has until the end of the month to adopt it.

At the hearing, Jim Pratt, a Fredonia resident and member of the village Planning Board, said he felt yearly tax increases hinder the village's ability to attract businesses and taxpayers. He said he "fears for the future."

On April 23, the Village Board will hold a public hearing to receive comments regarding a proposed change in the village's sign ordinance. The change would allow electronic variable messaging signs near the intersection of routes 20 and 60. The hearing will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Village Hall second-floor board room.

The Fredonia Planning Board was in attendance at Monday night's meeting to answer questions about the proposed sign ordinance change.

Trustee Joseph Cerrie said he wanted to be sure the modern signs would not encroach upon the village's historic downtown area. Jim Lyndon of the Planning Board said the board respects the village's desire to retain its integrity and historic nature.

Chief Village Zoning Officer John Monaco said he already has received an application for a zoning variance to erect a electronic messaging sign in an area outside the routes 20 and 60 intersection.

National Grid will begin its routine tree-pruning program next month. Pruning the trees allows crews to access equipment more readily and helps prevent storm damage, it was noted, and the pruning also discourages children from climbing trees and getting too close to wires.

Fredonia is one of National Grid's 10,000 Trees Program communities. If a village resident plants a tree according to the program's guidelines, the resident may be eligible for a $50 reimbursement. More information is available on the company's website.

Public Works Superintendent Jack Boland said his crew will begin brush collection at 7 a.m. next Monday. Lawn waste must be bagged, and brush must be manageable and bundled.

He added his department would be planting trees in the village this year. Residents interested in applying for a tree to be planted at their property should call 679-2304.

Boland also asked that residents park their vehicles in their driveways until his crews can finish sweeping the streets.

Trustee Cerrie said that unlocked cars have been burglarized in the areas of Lowell Place, Holmes Place, James Place, Leon Place and Cottage Street. The crimes have taken place between midnight and 6 a.m. He urged residents to lock their vehicles.

Police are investigating.