By Terry Duffy
The Village of Youngstown approved its 2021-22 budget of $1,781,089 Monday evening following a public hearing on Zoom that saw limited input from the community.
The budget reflects matching totals of $1,261,929 for both expenses and revenues on the general account line, plus equal amounts of $238,950 (revenue and expense) on the water line and $280,210 on the sewer line. It also includes compensation for the Village Board of Trustees as follows: mayor, $7,498; deputy mayor, $6,151; and $5,656 each for the three village trustees.
The 15-page detailed budget summary PDF is available for viewing online at youngstownnewyork.us.
At the Monday session, the only comments heard came from representatives of the Youngstown Volunteer Fire Co., who had questions over the village contract with YVFC. President Greg Robertson Sr. and official John Mies said the numbers presented to the village had differed from the fire company.
“We had some concerns about the budgeted money for the fire protection contract. We see that it’s different that the amount we requested our budget that we sent to the village,” Robertson said.
Mayor Raleigh Reynolds said the difference is reflected in how the village opted to fund its increase to the fire company.
“The budget you sent to the village, we had meetings on this and we had agreement between the village and the fire company that we would give the 2% increase in monies over what you got last year,” he said. “But the additional monies you wanted would be the in-kind services that we provide by keeping the lot plowed out in the wintertime and things like that; the same as we had done last year.”
Mies said, “When we met, that in-kind services was to relieve the situation of a short contract last year, and last year’s only, and that’s how it was passed by this company.”
Reynolds said the village has its limits in handling what the fire company was requesting.
“It wasn’t for last year’s only,” Reynolds said. “We’ve been dealing with this for a few years with the fire company and, to get where you need to be, is like a 4% increase over what we had last year. And as the village, we cannot absorb that kind of an increase. We met with you guys, and we came to an agreement with the fire company that we would continue with the 2% increase, and the other 2% would be taken up by the in-kind services that we provide to the fire company.”
Mies said, “It was never that understanding with the fire company.”
Village Attorney Tom Caserta said, “I completely disagree with that. We have (had) a provision for years for in-kind services that included the plowing. We determined the kind of money (was) needed. We can absolutely stop plowing, and the fire company can pay far more than that to have somebody plow. I thought this was a done deal and everyone understood what we were doing. If the fire company doesn’t understand that, then we’ll sit and talk to them again.”
The conversation ended with the fire company and the village agreeing to sit down and discuss the matter. Village officials said any changes to the budget from the YVFC discussions would be addressed via amendments.