By Jim Krencik
Medina Journal-Register — SHELBY — As towns throughout New York State prepare their next year’s spending plans, municipalities assess what 2012 brought, wince, and then seek new solutions for 2013 and beyond.
In the Town of Shelby, the process of reviewing the town’s departmental budgets is a necessary one in formulating Shelby’s 2013 budget. It’s also an opportunity to discuss new funding opportunities with the people who know best what their departments need.
The town board met Wednesday with Town Justice Dawn Keppler and Highway and Water Superintendent Mike Fuller, finishing up the town’s workshops with its department chiefs. With both officials, board members spoke about the town’s fiscal shape and changes that could be made to keep future level.
In the highway department, that means looking for alternatives to the replacement plans for heavy equipment. Fuller said Shelby’s heavy loader, which he requested be replaced last year as part of the town’s replacement schedule, is wearing out.
”You wanted a 10-year program, if we’re progressively updating there’s things to trade out,” Fuller said.
The new machine would be a big purchase, costing around $195,000. Supervisor Skip Draper proposed a program under which the town sets aside a portion of the cost of replacement equipment each year so that the replacements of multiple pieces of equipment in a single year aren’t budget breakers.
“But where would you start,” Fuller asked. “We have a 13-year old machine.”
Fuller said he’d rather pursue a program wherein the town bonds out the purchase of equipment and then buys and sells the equipment annually. The town had used a similar program in the past, but board members weren’t sure they could re-start one now.
”If you can find program where we can get the new equipment ... and all we pay is the difference (between the sold year-old equipment and the new, purchased equipment) and interest, we’ll support it,” Draper said.
With Keppler, the board said they’d like to seek grant funding to add onto the end of the town hall next to the court clerk’s office for a records room, holding cell and storage space. But the grant is the key part.
”Whatever we supply is from a grant,” Councilman Ken Schaal said to Keppler.
Keppler told the board that the results of the dissolution of the Village of Medina court are felt both ways in her budget. Revenues from fines and court fees are up, but so is the work and costs.
”We tried to anticipate the costs in 2011, and 2012 was more even-keeled,” Keppler said. “(The board) realized there was no way to foresee everything.”
Keppler’s budget provided for cost of living increases in clerk salaries, contractual increases to cover the costs of computer databases and required conferences.
”Basically, it’s pretty much the same,” Keppler told the board.
The highway budget carries over funds from purchases like road salt, didn’t get used up last year. About $50,000 will be carried over from 2012 to 2013 for that line item. Fuller’s budget projects an elevate road repair cost due to increasing material costs.
Fuller said that he’d have a better estimate on the costs of repairing the town’s mowing equipment in two weeks.
”We’re on our last cycle for mowing, then it’s time for repairs,” he said.
With all five department head meetings completed the town’s budget is coming into clearer view, but some aspects of the budget process are set. Draper said that while an override of the tax cap legislation will still be passed by the town, the board intends to keep the tax levy increase below the tax cap level.
That will be determined when the spending plan is finalized.
“We’ve put together our budget concept and have gone through most of our budget,” Draper said. “We’ve tried to stay below two percent, even with the exemptions (that would give the town more room to pass under the limit determined by Albany’s formulas).”
Contact reporter Jim Krencik at 798-1400, ext. 6327.Contact reporter Jim Krencik at 798-1400, ext. 6327.