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TOWN NEWSLETTER: Supervisor Mike Ferrara gives update on Seneca Falls

Editor’s Note: The following is a republished newsletter written by Seneca Falls Town Supervisor Mike Ferrara. 

We are currently preparing the 2021 Town budget. Budget workshops are scheduled for October 20 and 26, 5:30 in the Town Office. Masks are required.

There will be a Budget, Public Hearing held on Thursday, November 5, prior to the Town’s regularly scheduled November meeting, located at the Community Center.


Overview of the Tentative Budget

Spending is down about 7.5%. How did this happen?

  • Staff reductions
  • Saved over $60,000 by replacing commercial refuse pickup with Town personnel exclusively
  • Saved over $40,000 in phone service, internet, and cable charges. Discontinued service to phones that were out of use in Town owed properties and utilizing a new company called CBN utilizing less expensive rates
  • Reduced spending in other departments as much as possible with no impact on services

Even with the reduced spending outlined above, the tax rate will reflect a 43% increase. Why?

  • There is no Landfill revenue currently appropriated to the budget
  • The 2020 budget utilized 1.4 million in Landfill revenue to offset expenses in the Highway Department, Parks and Recreation Department, and Vince’s Park
  • The additional Landfill revenue was allocated to Reserve Funds to provide the necessary resources for infrastructure projects
  • The Board will ultimately need to make the decision to increase taxes or utilize landfill revenue to offset the increases
Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

What else has the Town Been Working on in 2020?

  • Local laws have been passed to improve parking and make signage consistent with parking codes
  • Two Local laws are pending that were created to encourage development in our downtown area by removing parking restrictions and allow for multiple apartments on building floors above the Fall Street level
  • The Town worked through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative and are waiting for the final project announcement from New York State
  • The Town is in the process of selling 115 Fall Street to increase our revenues and to eliminate over $8,000 in yearly expenses. In addition, this property will now go back on the tax rolls
  • Formed a Citizens Advisory Committee to explore the benefits of having a Town Manager
  • Formed a Citizens Committee to examine the current zoning laws to bring the Town into the 21 Century
  • Developed a Local Law to deal with fire pits. Our current code is outdated and if enforced, everyone currently having an outside fire at their home, would be in violation
  • Continuing to work on a strategy to repair the culvert on West Bayard Street
  • Repaired existing culverts on East Bayard Street and Garden Street which have been neglected for over 10 years
  • Continuing to review the Town’s best options for a new sewer line that will tie into the Western Sewer District including 318 and 414
  • Completed a major project that relined existing sewer lines to help alleviate storm water entering the sewer system. This was a 3.3-million-dollar project
  • Finalized the engineering to replace the Equalization Tank at the Sewer Treatment Plant to better handle overflow of storm water that enters the system. This is a 5.8-million-dollar project
  • Finalized the Phase II sidewalk project that will provide new sidewalks at the Frank Knight School area neighborhood. This project is similar to the sidewalk project completed at the Cady Stanton School neighborhood
  • Created a Police Reform Committee to develop a comprehensive plan based on the Governor’s recommendations that must be in place by April of 2021
  • In the process of installing a backup generator at the Auburn Road Water Tower
  • Started discussion through the Waste Management Committee to incorporate a comprehensive environmental plan for the Town of Seneca Falls. This plan would enhance recycling for our community members, provide the opportunity to take organic materials out of the landfill (from our community) and begin the movement to reduce our “footprint” on the environment
  • All of this happened as we are dealing with the worst global pandemic since 1918

 

 

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