The Village of Homer released its preliminary budget for 2019 yesterday, which is nearly flat but does reflect a slight tax levy increase of .5%.
Mayor Hal McCabe says this is mostly to cover cost of living increases for employees, and despite the slight increase in levy the actual tax rate for residents will remain the same and possibly even decrease.
The small increase in tax levy comes at a time of increased services to residents, such as the return of sidewalk clearing, the revitalization of the Little White Church on the Green and new playground upgrades that are coming soon.
Water and Sewer
Mayor McCabe says a planned increase in water and sewer rates has been avoided due to the discovery and repair of several large billing errors, some of which went back over a decade or more.
Mayor McCabe said the errors were primarily in the sewer billing formula for large dwellings and apartments. He also said the school district was not being billed regularly for their use, as well.
Having now corrected all of those errors, the result is enough additional revenue that the Village is able to cancel the planned hike in 2019.
Return of Garbage Removal in 2020
Also included in the budget is $220,000 for two garbage trucks for the Village, one new and one used (as a backup.). The Village is “exploring” the idea of bringing back trash and recycling collection and needed to budget for the vehicles which would need to be purchased this year to be ready by the end of the contract with Syracuse Haulers in 2020.
Mayor McCabe says the extended preliminary budget will soon be released to the public, then a hearing will take place sometime in January.
More information and a full edition of the proposed budget can be found at the Village of Homer website.
A public hearing will be held on the budget at the next Board of Trustees Meeting on Wednesday, January 9, at 6:00 p.m. at Homer Town Hall.