Dear Neighbors and Fellow Lake Grove Residents,
Spring is here along with the reminder of all the work ahead to keep our homes in good order. It is much the same here at Village Hall. Along with our annual meeting to make our yearly appointments for services, there is also the arduous task of putting together our annual budget to keep our Village in good order. I call it an arduous task only because we do not take this responsibility lightly. Many hours are spent by our budget committee crunching numbers to come up with the most responsible budget to maintain services while operating within the New York State tax cap. The term 2% cap is very deceiving, as it generally is much less after all formulas and calculations are considered.
The Village tax bill you receive has a garbage fee which is a pass-through that goes directly for garbage pick-up and dumping fees. Once this is removed from your bill, you will see that the Village gets very little of the tax dollars to actually cover services. Some confuse town and school taxes with what the Village receives. Your actual Village taxes are what’s on your bill minus the refuse and dumping charges.
With the dollars that we do receive, we have to pave and repair roads, plow, sand, sweep, repair concrete, cut trees, purchase highway and office equipment and pay our staff, just to mention some of our expenditures. Most homeowners will be able to relate how difficult it is to stretch those dollars to provide the highest level of services.
Experience certainly helps, as does having an extremely conscientious hard working staff. The Village has little to no waste in its daily operations. From office staff to highway repair and maintenance staff, all are very responsible in working as efficiently as possible. Purchasing through Inter Municipal Agreements saves many thousands of dollars each year by getting State, County, and Town bid pricing for vehicles and equipment. Our office staff actually uses coupons when purchasing office supplies. The Village Board members will not be taking a raise again, and I will be taking a reduction in compensation of over ten percent.
With all of the dollars we are able to save, costs are still rising. Staff members still will receive small pay increases and the cost of heating and cooling our buildings along with fuel for trucks is somewhat out of our control.
We will make it work again this year as we have for many years now. While we don’t have to stay under the cap, we very likely will. Our Board and budget committee has been doing this for many years and we are proud of what we are able to accomplish. These people make it look easy; but it certainly is not.
A very healthy happy and prosperous spring to all.
Robert J. Scottaline, Mayor