At a regular meeting Wednesday night, the Town of Pomfret scheduled a slew of dates to manage upcoming workshops and public hearings on next year's budget, the water district, and a variety of matters.
The state requires the town to have a tentative 2013 budget submitted by the superintendent to its town clerk by Sept. 15, after which it is reviewed by the town council and a final budget must be adopted by Nov. 14.
Superintendent Don Steger will present his tentative budget to the board at a special meeting Oct. 3 at 5 p.m. at the Town Hall. Steger explained the council will be presented with the budget as he's outlined it along with the budget requests from each department. "Then you'll see what they asked for. One department might ask for $5,000 for, say, contractual agreements, but I might only put $2,500 in the budget," he said.
The following meetings would consist of workshops in which the council makes recommended changes to the budget. The council agreed at least three meetings would be necessary to accomplish budget negotiations, but with each meeting to last no longer than two hours. "We need to schedule more than we need but we can cancel if we decide we don't need one," Steger said regarding requirements to provide public notification of the budget meeting schedule.
The council decided on 5 p.m. meeting times on the dates of Oct. 15, 17, 24 and 29 to address the budget. The meetings will be workshop sessions, meaning no resolutions will be presented for approval and no other business will be conducted.
The deadline set by the state for towns to hold a public hearing on the budget is Nov. 8. The town of Pomfret set the meeting for Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 6:15 p.m. According to Town Attorney Jeffrey Passafaro, the council may also make a motion to change November's regular meeting, normally scheduled the second Tuesday of each month, to this date in order to avoid holding two meetings during the month. Several council members were enthusiastic about reducing the amount of meetings in consideration of the number of meetings required in October, but decided to table a decision until the October meeting.
Approval of the final budget is required by the state no later than Nov. 20 for all towns in New York. The board will decide at its regular meeting on Oct. 10 if it will adopt the budget on Nov. 7 after the public hearing or on Nov. 14, when its regularly scheduled meeting would take place if the meeting on the 7th is not designated as the sole November meeting.
Several other meetings were scheduled to address issues aside from the budget.
On Sept. 14 at 11 a.m. the bids will be opened which were submitted by contractors for construction of the water district infrastructure. On Sept. 19 at 5 p.m., the council will hear recommendations from its engineering firm regarding the bids. It may choose to award the contract to a bidder at that time if the recommendations by the engineer are met by an appropriate contractor.
On Oct. 10, the regular meeting will be held at the fire hall in Lily Dale. "This is a tradition," at the time the fire contract is renewed with the Lily Dale Assembly, Councilwoman Pat Christina said. Prior to the regular meeting at 6:30 p.m., a public hearing at 6:15 will take place regarding the fire contract. At 6:20, another public hearing will be held regarding the proposed tax cap override.
On October 25, a public information session on the development of the North End Water District will be sponsored by the Town of Pomfret. Representatives from Wendell companies, the engineering firm managing the district development, will present information in two sessions. At 6 p.m., a presentation will be made to commercial customers of the district. At 7 p.m., an educational session will be presented to residents of the Phase I portion of the district, about 200 customers according to Christina. Both meetings will take place in the Fredonia High School auditorium.
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