Flower Hill seeks permit fee increase to bolster revenues amid financial stress

Flower Hill seeks permit fee increase to bolster revenues amid financial stress
Flower Hill Village Hall in the Village of Flower Hill on May 26, 2023. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, public domain)

The Village of Flower Hill is seeking to change its permit fees in order to increase revenues in light of rising costs and unanticipated expenses amid its budgeting season.

“The costs for almost everything we do in this village – our insurance costs, our salt costs, all the equipment, the repairs that we need to do to our equipment, our own maintenance, everything even down to the coffee creamer in Village Hall – all the costs are going up on everything,” Mayor Randall Rosenbaum said at the Board of Trustees meeting Monday night.

While Rosenbaum said the village has been doing well controlling its expenses and focusing on cost savings, this has led to the village utilizing equipment as long as it possibly can.

But this year, Rosenbaum said, the village has had to deal with many unanticipated expenses like fixing the Village Hall’s heating system, upgrading its cooling systems, replacing a generator and an alarm panel.

He said these unbudgeted expenses have taken much of the village’s money, leading Rosenbaum to believe there will not be a surplus at the end of the fiscal year in May.

Looking forward to the next fiscal year’s budget, Rosenbaum said that aging equipment is on the village’s mind, which means funds are required for additional replacements of items like trucks and mowers.

Instead of increasing taxes “significantly” to pay for these expenses, Rosenbaum said the village is instead seeking to increase its permit fees to accommodate these additional costs. He said this is the village’s second-highest revenue source behind taxes.

The Building Department’s permit fees would instead be based on the square footage of the project, which Rosenbaum said is comparable to other villages, instead of an additional 1% of the project’s expected cost.

In tandem with increasing fees, the fee adjustment will also simplify permit applications, Rosenbaum said.

Details of the permit fee increases have not been finalized but will be presented at the village’s meeting next month.

The board voted to hold a public hearing on the matter at its April meeting.

Rosenbaum said in light of the village’s financial situation, the village may also need to exceed the tax cap for the 2024-2025 budget. Its cap is set at 2%.

The mayor said this is a discussion the board will be having, but no decision on the tax levy increase has been made yet. He said this will be addressed at the budget presentation meeting held later this month.

A special meeting will be held March 26 at 6:30 p.m. when the village’s 2024-2025 budget proposal will be presented to the board.

The Village of Flower Hill will also be holding a public hearing for two local laws, one regarding fences and another addressing the tree code, April 1. The April meeting will also be the village’s annual reorganizational meeting and the date the board votes on its 2024-2025 budget.

The board held a moment of silence for Rhoda Becker, a 50-year resident of Flower Hill who formerly served as its historian, landmark commissioner and the village’s first female trustee. She died on Feb. 7 at the age of 88.

In honor of Becker, the village will be planting a tree in her memory.

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