Written by Matthew Ern, firstname.lastname@example.org Saturday, 19 April 2014 00:00
At a time when municipalities are grappling with keeping expenditures down, the Village of Stewart Manor saw not only its 2014-15 operating budget increase, but its mayor’s salary. At a meeting of the board of trustees held on Monday, April, 8, Stewart Manor adopted a budget of $2,418,548.03, a 1.4 percent increase over the previous year. In addition, the board approved a raise of $1,000 for Mayor Gerard Tangredi, bringing his salary to $3,000. The salaries for trustees John Egan, M. Carole Schafenberg, and William Grogan are set at $2,000 each. Deputy Mayor Michael Onorato has declined his stipend.
Salaries and benefits make up 42 percent of the total budget. According to the state comptroller, it’s acceptable for that number to be as high as 65 percent. The total costs of salaries and benefits have actually decreased by around 5 percent from the previous year’s adopted budget.
“We feel very comfortable. This is under control,” Onorato said of the mayor’s raise.
This year the tax cap was lowered to 1.48 percent. While crafting the budget, the Board made a conscious effort to hold their tax levy increase below the State tax cap.
“It has been the board’s goal and priority to control village operating costs and effectively hold taxes at the lowest possible increase without affecting vital services to our community,” Tangredi said.
The largest increase in the budget over the previous year is a 19.68 percent increase in spending on the village hall office. The board has allotted an extra $59,316.17 in the budget for repair projects in the village hall including a replacement for the Justice’s bench. The board viewed this as a necessary expense that has come about simply due to the age of village hall. A grant of $70,000 has been submitted to cover the cost of this work. The renovations will go forward pending the approval of the grant.
The village will also be purchasing a new pickup truck that will double as a snowplow in the winter. They will also be leasing a new ambulance.
According to Onorato, one concern for the board is a stagnant amount of incoming revenue. Parking meters are being looked at as a way to collect more money.
“We decided to raise the fines this year, that will increase some revenue and we’re thinking about putting a few more meters around. We can get somewhere around 10-15 meters around the village,” Egan said.
The board is currently scouting potential locations for the new meters, with Tulip Ave and Stewart Court being given consideration.