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Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York

Canton Village Board sets goals

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CANTON - One of the village board’s long-term goals includes exploring the cost effectiveness of creating a village manager position.

“It’s a model followed by some other municipalities and we want to see if it’s a viable path,” Trustee Daniel J. McDonnell said. “It’s simply something the board is going to be exploring. That’s as far as it’s going at this point.”

Mayor Mary Ann Ashley outlined a list of goals during a PowerPoint presentation at the board’s Jan.21 meeting.

Village Superintendent Brien E. Hallahan is a full-time employee chiefly responsible for maintaining the village’s infrastructure including streets and bridges and the municipal water supply. He oversees the village’s Department of Public Works.

The neighboring village of Potsdam has both a superintendent of public works and a village administrator.

Other goals outlined by Ms. Ashley include working closely with Village Budget Officer Sally A. Noble to propose a 2014-15 budget that decreases property taxes.

“We have 35 percent of property owners paying 100 percent of the taxes,” Ms. Ashley said.

Approximately 65 percent of village property is exempt from paying property taxes including St. Lawrence County government buildings, most of the property owned by SUNY Canton and St. Lawrence University, churches and not-for-profit agencies.

The village plans to continue to develop a hazard response plan with St. Lawrence County and continue direct communication with CSX Rail Inc. regarding safety concerns, data, training and grant assistance.

Regarding infrastructure, the village is developing a new water source and investigating annexation opportunities with the town for future development.

Finding a new building for the village police department, upgrading DPW facilities and enhancing technology are other goals.

The mayor said she would also like to partner with the town to address the existing condition of the municipal building.

Employee management will focus on examining performance expectations and working conditions.

Other multi-year goals include working increase the tax base, continuing the five-year capital plan for equipment and capital projects and managing village spending and debt to align with the state-mandated 2 percent tax cap.

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