The Fiscal Year 2024 Tentative Budget is located at the below link. We will be holding a public hearing on Wednesday, April 12, 2023, at 7:00 pm in Van Buren Hall for open comments before the Board of Trustees votes to approve the budget.
In April 2022, the Board of Trustees and I published “Our Village Priorities and Expectations of Service” where we outline the top priorities for our village over the next two years. That link can be found here: https://mayorsblog.villageofkinderhook.org/our-village-priorities-and-expectations-of-service/
In December 2022, I also published the FY24 Budget Planning Guidance to the Trustees and Staff that details several priorities specifically for this upcoming budget. That guidance can be found here: https://mayorsblog.villageofkinderhook.org/fy24-budget-planning/
Listed below are the four village priorities that we identified last April and how this FY24 budget continues to support these priorities.
1. Delivering essential services exceptionally well. This includes water purification and delivery, fire rescue and response, code enforcement, and all other fundamental government responsibilities.
a. Water Purification and Delivery. The link below provides an update on our Annual Drinking Water Quality Report that details an incremental increase in water rates to fund upgrades to our aging water infrastructure. In addition, we will be purchasing a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system for gathering and analyzing real-time data to monitor and control our water system. In coordination with the federal Transition Assistance Program grant, we will be replacing the 100+ year old water main underneath Albany Avenue within the next two years. https://mayorsblog.villageofkinderhook.org/annual-drinking-water-quality-report-2022/
b. Fire Rescue and Response. We are purchasing a new fire truck for $790,000. This truck will enable faster response times and allow for full operation of the truck with minimal volunteers. In addition, we are investing in the recruitment and retention of our volunteer fire fighters with a Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP), which is a pension-like program that will provide an annuity to volunteers at retirement age if they meet the required number of calls per year over a minimum of five years. The cost to the village is approximately $25,000 per year. I believe this is a very small price to pay for having a team of fire fighters ready to drop everything at a moments notice to respond to emergencies within the village. Approval for a LOSAP must be voted on by residents in a referendum. This vote will tentatively take place in early summer.
c. Code Enforcement. This year’s budget funds expanded hours for the Code Enforcement Officer as well as $3,000 for the training for an additional part-time Building Inspector to assist with fire inspections and to fill-in for when the CEO is out of the office. We also implemented a CEO computer software system that communicates with the town assessor’s office. This software will enable a more efficient permitting process and up-to date assessments.
In addition, we have budgeted $13,000 to continue the successful Enhanced Enforcement Program. Over the past six months, we have had Sheriff Deputies conduct speed enforcement within the village. To-date, they have issued over 80 speeding tickets. The revenue from these speeding tickets with cover the cost in the budget to continue this program.
d. Part-Time DPW Employee. This budget allocated $28,000 for the hiring of a second part time laborer for the DPW. Over the years, we have increased services for residents without investing in staff to support those services. Examples include the installation of the sewer in the business district, the installation of the Albany-Hudson Electric Trail, as well as conducting all mechanical maintenance of our vehicles, tractors, and equipment in house. All these things take up a considerable amount of time to operate and maintain. The extra help will enable the DPW to become proactive instead of reactive to resident support and facilitate continued quality and timely work.
e. DPW Equipment. We are also upgrading our fleet of DPW vehicles. We are purchasing a dump truck ($180,000), an all-terrain vehicle ($15,000) to enable movement along the Albany-Hudson Electric Trail and throughout the village, as well as an industrial lawn mower with various attachments ($16,000). These vehicles will increase efficiencies within the DPW and reduce time needed for maintenance.
f. Staff Compensation. The New York Council of Mayors conducted a survey on compensation for municipal employees across NYS. After analyzing the data specifically for the villages across the state with populations similar to the Village of Kinderhook, we learned that our staff were being compensated 5-10% below the average compensation of their counterparts. In this budget, we increased the compensation of our staff to meet the average compensation for municipal employees in villages across the state.
2. Reviewing and Updating our Village Code Book. Over the past year, General Code has begun the formal process of reviewing our entire code book to ensure it is clear, aligned with our comprehensive plan and how we live an operate today, and is able to be enforced equally to all residents and businesses. This budget has an additional $7,500 to continue with the review process with the goal of finalizing the updates by spring 2024.
3. Long-Term Financial Planning. We have already begun the process of assessing all village assets and to create a long-term budget projection and savings plan to ensure we are able to afford and replace aging assets and equipment in the years ahead.
a. Multi-Year Financial Planning Report. In January 2023, Trustee Mark Browne and Resident Jerry Callahan produced the first draft to the Multi-Year Financial Planning Report. Mark and Jerry have been thinking about how we improve our financial planning from the traditional year-to-year planning to taking a 5–10-year view of our financial planning and budgeting. That report can be found here: https://mayorsblog.villageofkinderhook.org/multiyear-financial-planning-report-january-2023/
b. Roads Assessment. The village contracted with engineering firm Tighe & Bond to conduct a full review and assessment of all our roads, sidewalks, and drainage. The report prioritizes our worst roads and details out a 5-year plan to provide maintenance and repairs. It is a sobering report in which they suggest $1.4M in upgrades over the next five years. We have budgeted $133,000 in CHIPS funding (funding saved from NYS for road maintenance) for this FY24 budget to repair Railroad Avenue and McNary Street. We are also transferring $100,000 from our general savings account to a roads maintenance savings account to be used in FY25 for Gaffney Lane.
4. Complete Albany Avenue and William Street Projects. The village has secured over $4,100,000 in grant funding over the past year mainly for infrastructure improvements. To put this in perspective, our annual budget is $1,200,000 and we raised $372,000 in taxes last year. The grant funding that we received is a once in a generation opportunity. These grants will have a small impact in this upcoming budget but will have large implications in FY25 and beyond.
a. NY Forward Grant. The village recently received a $2.25M grant from New York State. New York Department of State has advised us that it is about a years-long process to determine which projects ultimately get funded. Therefore, this grant does not have any impact on the FY24 budget. More information about this grant can be found at the link below. If you see Renee Shur, please say ‘thank you’ as she pulled the grant together in very short time.
More information about these grants can be found here: https://mayorsblog.villageofkinderhook.org/village-of-kinderhook-awarded-2-25-million-grant/
b. Albany Avenue Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvement Project and the Albany Avenue Water Main Upgrade Project. The village received a $1.8M grant to go towards the $2.3M needed to upgrade Albany Avenue and its sidewalks and drainage. The village was required to bond $501,000 to ensure we had the capital to move forward with the project. We will owe a $21,000 interest payment in this upcoming budget. We are also expected to use NY Forward grant money to pay off the remaining money that we bonded.
However, it would be foolish to upgrade Albany Avenue without replacing the 100+ year old water main underneath as well as the residential hook-ups from the water main to the homes along Albany. This will cost approximately $1,000,000 to replace and upgrade. We are attempting to obtain a Water Infrastructure Improvement Act grant as well as a NY Revolving Water Fund low interest, long-term loan. This will have a big impact on our budget in FY25 and beyond. For updated information on these projects, please see: https://mayorsblog.villageofkinderhook.org/albany-avenue-update-march-2023/
We are accomplishing all the above while staying in compliance with the NYS tax cap.New York State enables municipalities to levy taxes in accordance with a strict formula that takes into consideration an increase in property assessments, inflation, and what the previous year’s tax levy was for the municipality. The maximum amount that the Village of Kinderhook can levy in taxes for the FY24 budget without passing a formal resolution is $381,988. This is an increase of $9,798 from the current year’s budget.
How much will my taxes increase? On average, each residence or business will see their village taxes increase by fifteen dollars and eighty-eight cents ($15.88). I believe this is a very reasonable increase for all that we are doing in this upcoming year’s budget and how we are saving and planning for the years ahead.
I want to thank all the Trustees for their hard work over the past several months as well as our Treasurer Nicole Heeder, DPW Superintendent Dave Booth, and resident Jerry Callahan.
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.
I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org