Mount Morris village tax rate holds the line
The property tax rate for the next budget year is the same as the current $14.20 per thousand of assessed property value; this is the fifth consecutive year with no change. Water and sewer rates will also be the same.
However, some tax bills might go up while others could decrease if a property value was reassessed.
The $14.20 tax rate is high compared to other villages in the county. That’s because property assessments in Mount Morris are lower than average, which creates a need for a higher rate to produce enough revenue for running the government.
Also in Mount Morris, there are quite a few exemptions from paying taxes in part or whole. Some of these are: a number of non-profits; veterans; churches; schools and persons over 65, of whom there are a substantially large number in Mount Morris. This, of course, lowers revenues.
The nearly $1.8 million tentative budget keeps the tax levy under the two percent cap that was instituted recently by the state.
However, a 3-2 vote, (Long, Christiano, Murray yes; Lonsberry, Mike no) allows an override of the two percent cap as a precaution to protect the village if unexpected expenses arise that would break the cap said Mayor Long.
Exceeding the cap without establishing an exemption from the new state law would result in financial penalties.
To maintain a lean budget, the board did some serious ‘belt tightening’ in several areas without cutting complete programs.
The police department budget was trimmed by reducing patrols, overtime and double coverage. And next year’s budget lists a significant increase in the collection of fines
There was no increase in the $6,500 annual salary of the mayor or the $3,750 amount for each of the four trustees.
Some parts of the recreation program were pared back so that it would survive. Cuts were made in supplies and utilities, while the youth baseball, soccer and basketball programs stayed alive at current levels.
Several grants were put on hold. While it’s obvious that money is received from a grant, it’s not so well-known that a grant usually has a matching or reimbursement feature to it; that means the village has to spend money to get money.
The grants in a ‘holding pattern’ are: a boat launch into the Genesee River behind the Genesee River Restaurant; some additions to the Greenway, including signage, kiosks and footpath maintenance in the area that crosses State Street; some upgrades to Bellamy Park; and a new police car.
Some expenses are not controlled by the village. Ever increasing costs for retirement and health insurance benefits always take a big chunk out of the expenditure column.
Copies of the budget, with figures listed in all categories, are available at the village office.
In other business, Mayor Long announced that a $3 million loan was approved for the construction of new fire hall on the Chapel Street/Sand Hill Road site; and a $26,000 grant was received to be used for related expenses.
Village resident Bob Stevens, addressing the board, was critical of the time it is taking to get the new fire hall built.
The Fire Department elected new officers: Chief, Chris Young; First Assistant Chief, Dean Smith; Second Assistant Chief, Tim Bryant.