Monday, April 6, 2009

Budget, Pool Fees, Econ Dev, Energy, and the Skate Park

Dear People: We have a pretty heavy agenda to get through tonight on Village Council (7 pm, Bryan Center). The main item is our annual appropriations ordinance,, i.e., the budget for this year, 2009.

BUDGET: This is perhaps our most important discussion of the year. Please come! We are set to pass what I believe to be a solid, responsible budget tonight--one that should still slightly increase our reserves and that gives appropriate moneys to long term values of the Village. There are still many letters showing up in the YS News about the budget, some of which I would say have actual misinformation: for example, one letter this week alleges that we have not spent the money from the levy as promised to street improvements. Let me be clear: the levy, crafted by a previous Council and approved by a narrow vote of the citizenry, was not designed to go 100% to street improvements.

If you look at the table on the first page of the YS News this week, you'll see that the previous Council and ours has actually overspent the percentage set aside for streets, and underspent on other promised areas--sometimes for good reasons. (For example: since we haven't been sure what is the best way forward on economic development, it hasn't seemed prudent to simply spend money for the sake of spending it; the pool, also, did not need some of the suggested changes, but may be reaching the end of its useful life. We are planning to look at whether it might make sense to start setting money aside and working towards building a new pool.). However, we'll seek to bring that spending back into alignment as we move through Visioning and the final two years of the current levy.

Our investment in the green space fund, energy efficiency, and the modest budget request from the Human Rights Commission (which is also a separate discussion item--see below) to help with programming will likely be seriously questioned. It's a lot easier to defend those spending priorities if people who care about them show up. I'd love to see your smiling faces out there.

We'll also discuss three other items of legislation:
  • A new schedule of pool fees for residents and non-residents, already informally approved at an earlier meeting, including new, lower rates for seniors, and explicitly allowing for grandparents with live-in grandchildren over the summer to pay the resident rate for their family pass.
  • Budget transfers to cover the next month while this new budget is still pending.
  • A new, updated lease with the library (as recommended by the library commission and our village lawyer)
Special reports will be made:
  • Human Relations Commission will offer their annual report and explain why they are requesting a $9,000 budget line to help with programming that they believe will encourage inclusiveness and justice in our village.
  • Environmental Commission will make its annual report
Old business will include:
  • Economic Development task force/ next steps
  • Energy task force/next steps
  • Visioning/Planning consultant selection: next steps
  • The Skate Park--needs some repairs and there are suggestions that it needs some reconfiguring to avoid vandalism problems on nearby property. Please show up if you are concerned about youth recreation in our town!
New Business:
  • Appointments will be made to the Environmental Commission and the Cable Advisory Panel.
Then there'll be reports and agenda planning before we adjourn for the evening. Hope to see you there!


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