The Village Board had a public meeting to discuss the 2008/2009 budget and get feedback. It was an effort to start very early and keep the process open and transparent to the public. Budget meetings will start in earnest in February.
About 20 people showed up including representatives from the Chamber of Commerce and Community Center including Ben Rubin from the Journal News.
The good news is that expenses are projected to decrease by about $219k next year. The bad news is that revenues will decrease by about $325k. That leaves over $100k that has to be found.
It appears that this can be done primarily through parking revenues, which have been low the last several years because many of the parking spots have been offline, or unmetered. These are mostly in the big lot near Riverspace. But these spaces should be generating revenue for 2009.
The most conentious issue is whether to increase parking rates and/or fines. Richard Kavesh made it clear that to get his vote for moving ahead with Main Street streetscape improvements, the revenues will have to be in the budget through increased parking revenues.
The Village budget is about $4.9 million, very little of which is discretionary. But cuts may have to be found. Property tax increases were not discussed at the meeting, but the Mayor told Ben Rubin after the meeting that he would like to keep a tax increase to one or two percent.
The Village has acted in good faith to open the budgeting process to the public. Unfortunately, only a few residents took them up on the offer.
See also: Journal News