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Three Days Of Budget Workshops Held On Plattsburgh’s 2022 Proposed Budget

Plattsburgh City Hall
Plattsburgh City Hall

The Plattsburgh common council and mayor held a series of public budget hearings this week. While no residents commented, city leaders had department heads outline and explain their proposed fiscal plans for 2022.

Plattsburgh Mayor Chris Rosenquest is in the preliminary stages of formulating a 2022 city budget. The first-term Democrat began the first session on Monday describing the public work sessions.

“There's no final decisions that will be made off of this, out of this process. This is simply an opportunity for council, community to get in the same room with department heads as we work through the 2022 budget proposal," explains Rosenquest. "The process here is to attempt to include people in this process, give some exposure to counsel on the process, as well as the ability for counselors to contribute to some of the departmental numbers as we go into the final process for the proposed budget which will be presented on the seventh of October ahead of be the October 8th requirement by the charter.”

Each night the floor was opened to public comment but no residents came forward. Department heads then presented their projections for 2022 over the three evening sessions. Councilors heard presentations from the library, Department of Public Works, Finance, Municipal Lighting Department, City Clerk, Building Inspector, Development and mayor’s offices.

They explained union contract requirements, grants, activities over the past year and any changes that have occurred that affect their budget request.

The city is seeking a new police chief so Lt. Jarrod Trombley reviewed staffing levels, supplies and other budget needs. Ward 3 Democrat Elizabeth Gibbs quizzed him about budget numbers compared to staffing levels.

“I'm just trying to understand why my numbers show an increase a $212,333 from last year and I'm just trying to understand you know where's the payroll going?”

“Some of it’s we’re seven short currently," Trombley responds, "or eight short we just lost one, that have not been replaced. And then we're projecting losing those six. It takes six months in Academy, seven months. It takes a roughly a year to get an officer ready and prepared to operate and function on their own and with that duration of time we stand to lose more. We’re going to be very, very short and we are now. Which if you look at our overtime budget at this point in time would reflect the necessity of that.”

At the end of his report city Environmental Manager Jonathan Ruff concluded the city’s water and sewer infrastructure budget is in good shape.

“In general, the water and sewer funds are you know the budgets are balanced and they're healthy. You know, the sewer revenues and expenses are very close to each other. But the sewer fund actually has a lot of cash in it. So even though the sewer revenues and expenses look close there's a lot of money in the fund balance. There's a lot of money in the reserves." Ruff adds, "And we typically spend less than we budget on the sewer side, more so than the water side. I'd say the water side expenses are probably budgeted quite a lot more closer to what we, where we actually hit. But overall both those funds are in pretty decent shape.”

At the end of the three days of workshops Mayor Rosenquest said his office is open to any feedback.

“We still pulling department heads into meetings to discuss their payroll and their projects and initiatives to continue to shape this. I think it’s a budget that on the seventh that will be delivered that everybody can be proud of. That's my goal. And again I'd love to hear more feedback from you all based on these meetings that could that can help continue to shape that.”

The mayor’s proposed budget must be submitted to the Common Council by October 8th. A public hearing must then be scheduled within seven days.