City of Amsterdam Mayor Michael Villa released his proposed 2017-2018 budget yesterday. The budget calls for a 2.91% increase in the property tax rate and an overall 4% increase in total flat rate user fees for water, sewer, and garbage collection.
Villa wrote in his accompanying budget message, “In order to limit the increase in taxes and user fees, some difficult decisions had to be made.”
In the message, Villa expressed concern for several areas in which city expenses increased over the previous year including an increase of $207,000 in projected salaries, an increase of $600,00 in health insurance costs, loss of $80,000 from the sale of timber from the city’s watershed property, and an increase of $200,000 in retirement expenses, with $140,000 of that amount attributed to the police and fire departments.
On the positive side, Villa cited additional solar energy projects which are projected to save the city $140,000 per year, the expected sale of the Chalmer’s property for $300,000, and projected revenue from the city’s soon-to-be-established ambulance service, which according to the budget is projected to add $350,000 in revenue during the 2017-2018 fiscal year.
In closing, Villa wrote, “This administration will continue to look for areas of consolidation and savings. I believe we have put together a budget that provides all the essential services to our residents. I would like to personally thank our controller for all his help in preparing this budget.”
The Amsterdam Common Council will begin their review of the budget starting with a committee meeting on Monday. The council has until June 1 to pass changes to the proposed budget. The mayor can then submit the equivalent of line-item vetoes or “objections” to any of the council’s changes. The changes can be overridden by a two-thirds majority vote by the council. A public hearing for the budget is also required to be held before May 15.