Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read released his proposed budget on August 19th and residents had a chance to weigh in on the plan Friday morning. But no one commented.
The mayor’s proposed $60 million spending plan projects $23.9 million in General Fund revenue and $23.5 million in General Fund expenses, resulting in a surplus between $400,000 and $500,000. It allows for road construction and repaving projects to continue. It also lowers the property tax rate.
Mayor Colin Read opened a public hearing at 11 a.m. Friday at City Hall. “The city of Plattsburgh is holding a public hearing to hear public comments on the mayor’s proposed 2020 budget for the city of Plattsburgh. Any individuals intending to comment today please come and sign up. Well then I can close the public hearing.”
The only resident who attended did not comment. He said he came to hear what others thought of the plan since he had been out of town and hadn’t had a chance to review it.
Following the hearing Mayor Read was asked what he thought of the sparse turnout. “We typically don’t have people come to the public hearing on the budget. I think the most important work was either presented a couple of weeks ago or will be presented through deliberations of the council so people have an awful lot of opportunity to still comment. And there’s going to be changes made almost for sure. I think there’s going to be a lot of room for comment. I think people understand that. And I think overall people are pleased that the tax rate is going down yet at the same time still building roads at a pace that hasn’t been seen for perhaps a decade or longer. So I think it’s also a sign that people are assured that we’re really trying to manage the budget with as much fiscal restraint as we can.”
Read outlined a number of items in the proposed budget he believes enhances the city’s financial stability. “They add to our Fund Balance, reduce taxes overall the property tax rate overall to less than $12 per thousand. They reduce expenses and enhance other revenue sources that we are tapping into as well most notably things like mortgage tax. We’ve seen a growth in property tax base from some new developments that have gone in. So those are the highlights that I think are allowing the city to be in a much more firm financial foundation.”
Mayor Pro Tem Ward 2 Democrat Mike Kelly, the council’s Finance Committee Chair, says they are keeping a promise to deliver a balanced budget while providing the best services they can. “This year it seems we have worked collaboratively even before the budget process began. We started talking about it and we received input from each of our councilors. Each of them as you know is a liaison for various departments in the city. So they began looking very hard at their departments and talking about how to cut expenses and enhance value long before the budget was actually written this year. So that’s been a real plus.”
The city charter requires that the mayor submit a budget proposal to the common council by October 1st for the council to consider and revise.