B y Derek Liebig

A decrease in revenues will lead to a tax increase for village residents.

The Granville Village Board on Monday approved a tentative $1.35 million budget that raises the tax levy nearly 3 percent, from $1,015,924 to $1,046,114.

The resulting increase in taxes is projected to be 3.55 percent and the tax rate is expected to increase from $9.71 per $1,000 of assessed valuation to $10.05. That increase will cost residents whose properties are assessed at $90,000 an additional $28 in taxes.

That increase, however, will be reimbursed in full by the state since the village complied with the tax cap. Taxpayers who live in a municipality or school district that stays within the tax cap receive a check for the increase in their taxes.

The village will use just shy of $20,000 of fund balance to offset expenses.

Although Mayor Brian LaRose expressed satisfaction with the budget, he described it as a “difficult year to balance the budget.”

“A decline in revenue is driving increases in the levy opposed to expenditures,” he said.

Rick Roberts, village clerk, said the village lost two significant sources of revenue, a $26,250 domestic violence grant and a $12,500 decrease in revenues for the removal of snow on state roads.

The latter caught officials off guard.

For years, the state paid the village to plow and sand Quaker and Main Streets, which are part of Route 149. However, last fall the state abruptly canceled the agreement and signed a contract with Washington County to provide those services.

The loss of the domestic violence grant was also a blow to the budget. The grant provided training for officers and services to victims of domestic violence. But the federal government changed the conditions of the grant and the village was asked to match one-third of the total cost of the grant. The grant also mandated additional training sessions, which would have cost the village in overtime benefits.

The village is also projected to lose $20,000 from the sale of sludge. The village is one of a handful of local municipalities that has its sewer sludge shipped to Hudson Falls and turned into compost. The compost is then sold. The cost of operating the plant, however, has increased in recent years, negatively affecting revenue. Overall, total sewer revenues are done more than $15,000.

To compensate for those losses, sewer rates will increase $20 from an annual rate of $295 per household unit to $315.

LaRose said it was the first increase in sewer rates in four years.

Water rates are also projected to increase from $195 per year to $210 per year.

LaRose said he was pleased with the budget in light of the difficult financial constraint the village faced.

“I think the board did an extraordinary job. There’s wasn’t much fat to trim,” he said. “I think it’s a good budget.”

By law, the budget will remain unchanged for a month. A public hearing on the spending plan will be held on April 6 at which point trustees could consider changes.

Copies of the tentative budget are available at the village offices.

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