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Sackets Harbor budget includes raises from 3 to 15 percent, drops sewer rate

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SACKETS HARBOR — The village’s 12 part- and full-time employees will receive salary raises of 3 to 15 percent compared with this fiscal year, according to the preliminary 2014-15 budget approved Tuesday by the Board of Trustees.

Property taxes will remain the same and the sewer rate will drop for village residents, according to the budget, which the board will consider at its May 13 meeting.

The village tax rate will stay at $2.80 per $1,000 of assessed value. The levy will increase by less than 1 percent, from $362,592 to $362,819, because the total assessed value of the village has risen.

Total spending for all funds will drop by 25 percent, or $1,434,308, from $5,690,308 to $4,256,000. That decrease comes mainly because the village is no longer paying off a $2.5 million project to upgrade its water plant, which will be completed this summer.

Full-time employees will receive an average raise of about 3 percent, while part-time workers will get pay hikes from 5 percent to 15 percent to bring their salaries closer to part-time staffers at villages across the state that have similar populations, Treasurer James E. Yuhas said.

“We looked at what police departments are paid at other river and lake communities in the county and statewide, and also what office personnel are paid,” Mr. Yuhas said.

Total revenue collected by the village is expected to fall from this year by 40 percent, or $1,977,086, from $4,940,833 to $2,963,747. That drop was created because the village is no longer collecting grant and loan funding for its water plant upgrade.

The village’s quarterly sewer rate will fall from $145 to $140 per household under the budget. Its water rate remains even at $110 per quarter, which covers up to 6,000 gallons used by households; residents are charged $3 for every 1,000 gallons beyond that.

The water rate for residents living outside the village limits in the town of Hounsfield will be $3.50 per 1,000 gallons, up from this year’s rate of $3 per 1,000 gallons.

Town residents will begin paying off their portion of the village’s recent water plant upgrade. The rate for town residents is determined by the village on a yearly basis, according to water usage.

What’s more, the village board decided Tuesday to rescind a local law that required property owners to pay 25 percent of the quarterly sewer charge for vacant lots that have sewer access.

“The charge was there because developers can tap into our sewer and it gives them greater value, but now we feel comfortable we don’t have to charge that because we want to encourage economic development,” said Mayor Vincent J. Battista III, adding that the village collected about $8,000 this fiscal year from landowners affected by the law.

The village’s fiscal year runs from June 1 through May 31.

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