Wheatfield board continues budget work, adjusts junkyard rulesby jmaloni
Wheatfield residents might see an even bigger tax decrease in 2012 than originally predicted in Supervisor Bob Cliffe's $11.899 million tentative budget.
Town Board members met with department heads last week and are continuing to review the budget presented earlier this month.
At Monday's Town Board meeting, Councilman Larry Helwig said that he believes that the amount of estimated revenues in the budget due to the change in the county's sales tax formula can be safely raised by $100,000. Wheatfield's percentage share of sales tax is increasing due to growth shown in the latest census.
The board had agreed to put any extra revenue towards reducing the town's highway tax, he said.
Cliffe's proposed budget reduced the tax by 3.4 percent. Increasing the sales tax estimate would mean a 5.89 percent reduction on whatever the homeowner or business is currently paying for highway tax, Helwig said.
The board approved amending the town code to increase fines for violations of its junkyard law.
Cliffe said some board members are not happy with the progress being made in cleaning up junkyards around town.
"The feeling is that, if we have more teeth in the town's law, there may be stronger and quicker enforcement, quicker improvement with visible junk piles," he said.
Fines for a first offense are now a minimum of $200, maximum of $350, and/or jail for up to 30 days. The board added that for a second offense within five years, the minimum fine will be $350 with a maximum of $700 and/or possible imprisonment of 180 days. Also, for a third offense within five years, the minimum fine will be $750 and/or possible jail time of up to one year.
In other matters:
•After discussion at a prior public hearing, during public input section of this meeting, as well as door-to-door discussion by Cliffe and councilmen Helwig and Gil Doucet, the board clarified the location of Lakeside Court.
When one comes along Pinelake Drive to Lakeside, all residences to the left including the cul-de-sac will remain Lakeside Court. The four homes to the right will revert to Lakeside Drive, as it is only a matter of time until the two ends of Lakeside Drive meet, Cliffe said. He and Highway Superintendent Art Kroening will notify all interested parties.
•A public hearing also was held on a request by Councilman Art Gerbec to amend the town code to require that future bid openings for sealed bids be opened before the public at a regular board meeting. Action will be taken at a later meeting.
•Cliffe also noted that a recent college graduate, Aaron O'Brien, gave him a rough design of a method of collecting the automotive energy from braking at stoplights and stop signs and converting it to electricity that can be sent back to the grid. O'Brien is hoping some engineer or firm will pick up and run with his innovation.
•The board approved the promotion of Greg Martin to deputy highway superintendent at the request of Kroening.
•Recreation Director Ed Sturgeon reminded residents that the annual Halloween Party for kids will be held at the Community Center this Saturday evening at 6 p.m., and that Halloween hours for trick-or-treating will be Monday from 4 to 7 p.m.
•The next Wheatfield Town Board meeting will be at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 7.