Fonda board OKs budget

FONDA – The village Board of Trustees unanimously approved a 2013-14 village budget Monday with a 3.1 percent tax levy increase.

The total budget will decrease 4.45 percent, from $1.09 million to $1.04 million.

The amount the village seeks to collect in property taxes will rise 3.1 percent, from $196,035 to $202,148. Sales tax revenue also is expected to increase from $106,000 to $113,000.

The village tax rate is currently $7.93 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

The budget allocates $25,000 to fund the first phase of the Mid Mohawk River Revitalization project, a project partially funded by a state grant.

The project is meant to enhance the waterfront surrounding the towns of Glen and Mohawk and the village by planting trees, and building a boat launch, pavilion and a parking area.

Salaries for the mayor and each of the four trustees remains the same at $5,500 and $3,000, respectively.

Fire talk

The village dissolved its volunteer fire department last month as a cost-saving measure.

In November, Mayor Bill Peeler said the budget for the village’s Fire Department was roughly $43,000 a year.

The village now has a two-year fire contract with the town of Mohawk costing the village $25,000 per year. Village residents pay a fire tax to be covered by the town Fire Department.

Manpower also was an issue for the department. At one time, the Fonda Volunteer Fire Department had more than 30 volunteer firefighters. It eventually decreased to about 15 volunteers.

John Maher, a former firefighter with the department, spoke at the budget and organizational meeting Monday.

Maher said the department was self-sufficient for years.

“To raise money for equipment we would park cars during racing season, which brought the department $6,000 per year,” he said. “We had to fundraise to purchase equipment.”

Maher said the village saved between $10,000 to $14,000 a year to put toward a firetruck by getting a certain percentage of what the firefighters earned parking cars.

“They saved up $100,000 that is going into the general fund rather than [for] its original purpose of paying for a fire pump truck,” he said.

Peeler said the money, by law, must go into the general fund.

“We, as the village Board of Trustees, will make the best decision for the village,” he said.”