B y Derek Liebig

The Village of Granville ratified its 2015-16 budget Monday evening.

The $1.35 million budget increases 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.

Because the village complied with the state’s tax cap, residents will receive a check compensating them for the increase in taxes.

Trustees, for the most part, expressed their satisfaction with the budget, but described it as a difficult year.

“We’ve trimmed every piece of fat off it we could,” Trustee Paul Labas said.

But Dean Hyatt questioned whether the board did too much trimming and is setting itself up for higher tax increases in the future.

“I feel like we’re kicking the can down the road,” he said.

Officials said the budget increase was driven largely by declining revenue and not increased expenses.

While health insurance and retirement costs decreased, so too did revenue.

Mayor Brian LaRose said the village lost three main sources of revenue: a domestic violence grant valued at more than $26,000; $15,000 from the state for the removal of snow on Route 149; and $20,000 from the sale of sludge.

To compensate for the loss revenue, the village will use $19,910 from its fund balance, the most it’s used since the 2007-08 fiscal year. It’s the fourth consecutive year the village has dipped into reserves.

The village also voted to increase sewer and water rates to compensate for expenses in those areas.

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

It is the first increase in sewer rates in four years.

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

A brief public hearing was held prior to trustees voting on the budget, but no one spoke. In fact, other than village officials, a handful of employees and a Granville Sentinel reporter, no one attended the meeting.

The budget, as well as the increases in the water and sewer rates, received the unanimous support of the board.

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