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May 3, 2012
A Final Word on the Budget

The Village of Irvington filed its finalized budget for 2012/13 on Monday.  The final tax increase was 3.94% while the increase to the tax levy (that is subject to the 2% NYS tax levy law) was 1.2%.  The large difference between the tax increase and the levy increase was the impact of lower assessed real estate values.  In fact, of the 3.94% tax increase, 2.6% is the result of lower assessments.

Overall, I am relatively happy with how the budget turned out.  While I always target a tax increase that is roughly in line with the rate of inflation (a little more than 2%), considering the hit to assessables, the tax increase is reasonable.  I am happy that the budget does not contain any major service cuts; the only effect on services was the addition of fees for “large bulk” garbage pickup for items like sofas.  A large part of this budget’s savings were accomplished by downsizing three Department of Public Works employees.  This was a very difficult decision for the Board of Trustees, but in the end we had to do what was recommended by our management staff and what we believe was best for the Village.  

I am very proud that the budget did not contain any creative accounting nor did it use a large amount of fund balances to artificially deflate the increase.  In fact, the only fund balance that was allocated was associated with savings that had already been identified.  So, we ended up with a budget that not only maintained services and had a reasonable increase, but also a budget that is responsible and sustainable.

We would not have been able to accomplish such a solid budget if we had not started working on it last July when the details of the 2% Tax Levy Cap Law were first released.  This long lead time allowed us to work closely with the department heads to identify cuts. This was critical after several years of budget cuts since any “easy” cuts have already been made.   I am particularly proud of job performed on the budget by the Village of Irvington staff, particularly Clerk/Treasurer Brenda Jeselnik and Administrator Larry Schopfer.  I also commend my fellow Board of Trustee members that always discussed the budget in a civil and productive matter.

I look forward to starting work on next year’s budget in a few months.  I only hope that healthcare costs can somehow remain contained and that the rebound in the stock market will lessen the anticipated increase in pension costs.  Whatever we face budget-wise, the Board of Trustees will face the challenges head on, supported by an excellent Village staff.

Fireworks!

It is with great pleasure that I announce that the fireworks will be back this Independence Day.  Thanks, in large part, to the tremendous success of the Penguin Plunge the F.A.C.E. Committee has allocated funding to restore the fireworks.  Along with the funding from a soon to be named sponsor, we will not only bring the fireworks back, but F.A.C.E. is planning on having music, food and activities for children on July 4th.  So, save the date, one of the best days in Irvington is back and I expect it to be better than ever!

In addition to the fireworks, the triumph of the Penguin Plunge has allowed us to restore the senior transportation that was cut from the budget, restore open gym nights for teens in the fall (November 2012 – March 2013) and provide need-based summer camp scholarships.  It has also allowed us to fill gaps in the funding of regular Recreation Department activities that were eliminated from the budget.

When I put together the F.A.C.E. Committee, I truly believed I was appointing the very best of Irvington, they certainly have lived up to lofty expectations.

Con Edison Tree Trimming

Beginning today and continuing for the next few weeks, Con Edison will be trimming trees near their electrical lines.  While this work is necessary to avoid potential power interruption during storms, the Village will be working with Con Edison’s contractor to reduce the problems we experienced in the past with over-trimming of trees to the point of damaging them.  Con Edison will be working in the south end of the Village and on Main Street, including all the side streets off of Main Street.  All affected property owners should have been notified by Con Edison with either an orange tag hung on their door denoting that the trees adjacent to their property will be trimmed, or by a green tag which denotes that the tree will be taken down. Con Ed will clear lines 10 feet below, 10 feet to each side, and 15 feet above their lines so that the lines will be clear of all branches. The above applies to trees that are within the Village right-of-way, for any trees on private property that need to be trimmed or taken down, Con Edison MUST get permission from the property owner to do so.
 
Celebrating Success

On May 20th from 4pm-7pm, we will be celebrating the Irvington Girls Basketball Team’s State and Federation Championship.  The Irvington Fire Company and the Irvington Recreation Department are planning a wonderful “block party” and I will be presenting the team with “Keys to the Village.”  Please join us at this free event as we revel in the tremendous success, as well as the tremendous citizens, that represent Irvington as the Lady Bulldogs.  

Please contact me with any question or comments about things going on in the Village.

Brian C. Smith, Mayor


P.S.  Next time you see your neighbor, please make sure they are signed up for Village e-mail blasts.  It is the best way we have to contact you about everything from emergencies to Farmer’s Markets.