By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO Monticello’s village board continues to meet in an effort to neutralize any tax impact from the to-be-approved 2011-2012 budget.
“It was at 25 percent,” Mayor Gordon Jenkins told the small audience at Tuesday’s regular board meeting. “Now we’re at 1.7 percent, and I think we will get it down to zero percent.”
A public hearing on the approximately $12 million budget was held at that meeting but then recessed to next Tuesday, June 28, at 6 p.m., immediately after which the board is expected to vote on adopting the budget.
Another worksession was held this week, with officials saying they continue to whittle away at the tax increase.
“The departments have worked very hard to get their budgets down this year,” affirmed Village Treasurer Heather Berg.
So has the board, added Tom Rue, husband of Trustee Carmen Rue.
“I know that, because I miss my wife,” he quipped to the board.
Berg estimated another $80,000 has to be cut to hit the zero-increase goal.
No gang toleration
Elsewhere during Tuesday’s meeting, Jenkins made it clear that the recent spate of gang activity and shootings in the village won’t be tolerated.
“We can’t have gangs in here it’s not going to happen,” he remarked, vowing to shut gangs down “by any means necessary” and with “the most aggressive action.”
The price of paving
The board unanimously agreed Tuesday to pave nearly two dozen streets, but Berg warned them that it’s not without a price.
To pave the roads, $400,000 was borrowed from the sanitation reserve, and Berg worried that, along with the recently lowered sewer user rates, the fund balance could be wiped out in the future.
Deputy Mayor TC Hutchins said the street paving was critical, and there will still be significant monies in the sanitation department’s accounts.
The board also expects the sewer fees to slowly replenish the fund.
Lights still coming
Despite installation bids that came in twice what was anticipated, village and Sullivan Renaissance officials promised the decorative lights already purchased for Broadway will indeed be installed.
Renaissance’s Helen Budrock told the board Tuesday that the lowest bid to mount and wire the 60+ lights came in at $76,000, far higher than the village’s estimate of $30,000-$40,000.
The village is working with Congressman Maurice Hinchey’s office to see what alternatives it has, said Jenkins.
“We are going to contribute something,” he promised. “We are going to get the lights in.”
Budrock and Renaissance Director Glenn Pontier agreed.
“We have the lights, and the bases are in,” Pontier pointed out. “Eventually we’re going to have the lights up, and they’re going to look great.”
New farmer’s market
The village is accepting applications from vendors interested in selling their wares fruits, vegetables, meats, arts and crafts at the village’s August 21 farmer’s market.
To be hosted from noon-6 p.m. in the municipal parking lots near the county Government Center, the market’s 12'x12' lots can be obtained by calling the village at 794-6130.