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The Telegram
  • Frankfort board adopts $1.6 million budget

  • The Frankfort village board voted Thursday to adopt a $1.6 million budget for 2013 - 2014 that will raise taxes by two percent. Adoption of the $1,669,183 spending plan came after a public hearing at which no one from the public spoke. The total shows an increase of $50,649 from the $1,618,534 budget for 2012 - 2...
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  • The Frankfort village board voted Thursday to adopt a $1.6 million budget for 2013 - 2014 that will raise taxes by two percent.
    Adoption of the $1,669,183 spending plan came after a public hearing at which no one from the public spoke. The total shows an increase of $50,649 from the $1,618,534 budget for 2012 - 2013.
    The largest increases were in areas over which the village has no control, such as workers’ compensation, which shows a jump from $79,200 to $96,903, as well as retirement and health insurance costs. In addition, the village saw its revenue from property taxes drop by $18,000 due to reassessment of village property.
    Mayor Frank Moracco said the tax rate increase would amount to 28 cents, which translates into an additional $16.80 per year for a home assessed at $60,000.
    In addition to the two percent property tax increase, he said, the board used $208,955 from the current fund balance in order to balance the revenue and expenditure sides of the plan.
    The budget includes maximum compensation of $7,000 per year for the mayor and $5,000 per year for the trustees, up from $5,000 and $3,500 respectively for the current year.
    In addition to the general fund budget, the board adopted a water department budget totaling $591,650 and a sewer department budget of $71,825.
    Water bills
    Superintendent Ron Vivacqua reported that most outstanding water bills have been paid, now that the village has begun enforcing its policy of turning off water to houses if residents don’t pay their bills.
    “I’d say it’s about 98 percent,” he said.
    Moracco said bounced checks are becoming a problem due to the crackdown.
    “If someone deliberately uses a check to pay the balance, knowing there is no money, that’s a criminal offense,” said Vivacqua, adding these would be turned over to the police. He added if someone who has never given the village a problem makes a mistake that results in a bounced check, that would be handled differently.
    Police Chief Ron Petrie said there is usually a 10-day grace period to make good on the payment.
    Vivacqua suggested a list be kept of people who have bounced checks when paying their bills and that these people be required to pay by credit card rather than by check.
    Moracco said the village should check to see if there is a policy in place on this matter.
    Water customers may mail their payments or, if time is short, bring them to the village office or put them in the drop box outside.
    PBA contract
    In other business, the board tentatively approved a new contract with the village’s Police Benevolent Association pending additional review. The action came after an executive session in which the board met with PBA representatives.
    Page 2 of 2 - Petrie reported the village police department had received three portable radios from the Herkimer County Sheriff’s Department through a Homeland Security grant. He said the new radios would replace four department radios that could not be upgraded as needed.
    He also reported the prescription drop box will be delivered to the department next week and will remain in the village for the next six months. People may drop off unneeded prescription drugs in the box for proper disposal. The box will be at the police station and drugs may be dropped off at any time. Petrie explained in the past people were flushing them down the toilet and the result was a negative impact on the groundwater.
    The mayor suggested the chief put the word out about the box to the Young At Heart Senior Citizens group.
    Firefighter recruitment
    Fire Chief Charles Conigliaro reported the fire department will conduct an open house on April 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. as part of a statewide volunteer recruitment effort.
    He also reported the department will host a firefighter boot camp — the 97-hour Firefighter I training course required by law before a volunteer can begin firefighting duties. The course will be offered the last week in June and the second week in July. Hours will be from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Conigliaro said. He noted the schedule should make it possible for high school or college students to enroll. The course will be open to residents of other counties, but Herkimer County residents will be given first change at enrolling. Conigliaro said he has already received five out-of-county requests to sign up.
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