Russell Gardens approves new $1.32 million budget

Russell Gardens approves new $1.32 million budget

The Village of Russell Gardens Board of Trustees unanimously approved a $1.32 million budget last week, which includes a 1.91-percent increase in property tax.

Although the budget showed a decrease of $22,810 from a year ago, Russell Gardens Mayor Matthew Bloomfield said during the board’s regular meeting at village hall last Thursday that “necessary” expenditures for equipment used by the public works department, along with increases in state pension and hospitalization costs, led to the tax hike.

“Basically, I think our residents are satisfied with our budgets,” Bloomfield said. “I think that’s shown by the fact that we don’t have an overwhelming crowd at the budget meetings, showing something other than satisfaction for what we’re doing.”

After conferring with residents throughout the year, Bloomfield said it should be seen as a major victory that the village was able to decrease its $1,315,735 budget for 2012 from the $1,338,545 mark of a year ago, while staying within the state-mandated 2-percent property tax cap.

“Our process is we go through the expenses and we go through the income other than the property tax and we see where we wind up,” Bloomfield said. “If we wind up a little bit higher than, obviously this year 2-percent is the cap, then we would pull back on certain items. We pretty much wound up at this point.”

Instead, Bloomfield said there wasn’t an overriding need for the village to make drastic cuts to its services.

“I speak with our residents regularly … and I think that they appreciate the services they’re getting,” Bloomfield said. “They appreciate the fact that we’re staying within the 2-percent cap.”

The largest expenses that the village will incur this year comes from the purchase of a new skid loader and John Deere tractor that the village Department of Public Works uses on what Bloomfield said is a “daily” basis.

The village will replace its current skid loader, which is 18-years-old, with a new one at a price of $32,000.

Bloomfield said the skid loader is used primarily for asphalt repair projects within the village and is “really one of the main pieces of equipment that we use in our village.”

“Our guys maintain most of our equipment. Unfortunately, they can’t get parts for … the present skid loader,” the mayor said.”Since it is such an important part of our program with the DPW, we are going to replace that.”

The village will also purchase a new John Deere tractor this year at a cost of $14,000.

Bloomfield said the tractor is used for various tasks around the village including grass cutting, clearing snow from sidewalks, while also allowing village Department of Public Works employees to transport equipment.

“These are key pieces of equipment for our DPW department,” Bloomfield said.

Another costly expenditure is a $75,000 drainage repair project at Tain Drive, which Bloomfield said “we’ve been putting off, but expect to take care of in the next fiscal year.”

Pension costs also increased more than 2 percent, while the village is expecting hospitalization fees to rise by 10 percent with the state’s retirement plans seeing an increase from $65,000 last year to $71,000 in 2012-13.

“These necessary expenses, that we can’t avoid, pushed things up as well,” Bloomfield said.

No posts to display


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here