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Potsdam creates tentative budget

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POTSDAM — The town has completed its tentative budget for 2013, and will present it for public comment Nov. 8.

The tax rate will remain largely unchanged from last year. Both town and village residents will pay $2.27 per $1,000 of assessed property value for the general and highway funds, compared with $2.31 last year. Town residents who live outside the village will pay an extra 79 cents per $1,000 to fund the fire district.

“We did very well as far as I’m concerned,” Supervisor Marie C. Regan said

Last year, financial constraints meant that every department and service received exactly the same amount of money it received in 2011. This year this restriction was loosened slightly. While many budget items stayed the same, and some were cut, others were able to receive at least part of a requested increase.

This does not mean everyone got exactly they wanted. The West Potsdam Fire Department requested $91,620, compared with the $61,620 it received last year, to help combat falling fundraising revenue. While the need is clear, the money simply isn’t available, Ms. Regan said.

“If we had it, we’d give it to them in a minute. They’re the only fire department that doesn’t get any money from a village,” she said.

The tentative budget will give $71,620 to the department for 2013.

One of the biggest increases went to the recreation budget, shared between the village and town. According to the tentative budget, recreation expenses will jump to $155,813, from $144,927.

The rising costs of recreation expenses pose a problem for both the town and the village, which are trying to remain frugal.

“This is about as big of a bill as we can afford,” Ms. Regan said.

At a special meeting earlier this month, both boards tried to brainstorm new ways to raise revenue.

They agreed to add $5,000 to recruit someone to market the Potsdam Arena to event organizers. It later was decided this was impractical, and the plan was scrapped.

The town board held a special meeting Tuesday night to finalize the tentative budget.

“I breathed a sigh of relief when we were done,” Ms. Regan said.

Those who wish to comment on the budget may do so at a public meeting at 6 p.m. Nov. 8. The board will vote on whether to approve the budget at its regularly scheduled meeting later that night.

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