Tivoli’s Board of Trustees will vote tonight on the finalized budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.
But exactly what that budget will look like remains elusive. At the board’s April 17 meeting, Mayor Bryan Cranna estimated that residents will face a 2.6 percent property tax increase.
The board had adopted a tentative budget on April 1 that would have increased spending by nearly $150,000, but the document has undergone extensive revisions since then, and residents will probably not be able to inspect the final version until the vote is imminent.
“If we adopted the budget in the form weapproved for the tentative budget, it would have meant a 34 percent tax increase,” Cranna told the audience at the April 17 meeting. “We knew that was not going to be the real number, we hope you know that was not going to be a real number.”
The mayor also stressed the fluid nature of this year’s budgeting process. “We have been meeting for months on this budget, and I think it is one of the most open discussions we have had in village government,” he said, “There is still tweaking that needs to be done, but from what I understand right now, what started off as a 34 percent tax increase is now hovering around a 2.6 percent increase.”
The tentative budget approved on April 1 represented what trustees are calling the village’s “wish list,” consisting of spending requests from each department complied together prior to Board review. Since then, trustees have looked over the budget line by line to make needed cuts.
Trustee Susan Ezrati has been leading the effort to finalize the budget. Both Cranna and Trustee Robin Bruno thanked Ezrati at the April 17 meeting for her meticulous work.
“I want to thank Trustee Ezrati for in many ways leading this ship,” said the mayor, “Sometimes we have all been able to meet as a group and sometimes we have not been able to. But there has always been a lot of communication back and forth. Have we agreed on everything? No. However, I believe that everybody is acting in the best interest of the Village of Tivoli.”
Ezrati noted that the board would be in a better position if it were able to adopt a tentative budget next year that represented a realistic proposal rather than a compilation of department requests.