LILY DALE - The Pomfret Town Board had a busy night on Wednesday. It held two public hearings - one about approving the fire contract with the Lily Dale Fire Company and the other concerning passing a local law to allow the town to exceed the 2 percent tax cap. The meeting was held at the Lily Dale firehall.
During the public hearing about the fire contract, Bernard Payne, president of the fire company was the only speaker. He said the contract contained an increase of $1,078 over last year.
He gave two reasons for the increase. "There was a sizable increase in fuel cost. ... Anticipated donations fell short. (In this year's budget) we have reduced the amount to maybe a more realistic figure."
OBSERVER Photo by Diane R. Chodan
Town Supervisor Donald Steger and town attorney Jeffrey Passafaro take questions during the public hearing about passing a local law allowing the board to exceed the 2 percent tax cap.
Councilwoman Ann Eckman asked how much they received from fundraising. While Payne did not have the exact figure, he estimated it was about $4,300.
During the regular meeting a resolution to accept a contract of $28,078 with the fire company was passed unanimously by the members of the board present. (Councilwoman Pat Christina was absent from the meeting.)
Councilman David Penharlow questioned Town Attorney Jeffrey Passafaro about the timing concerning passage, noting that the board has just begun its budget process.
"Is it possible we could do it after we begin our dialogue (on the budget)?" he asked.
"No." answered Passafaro, "The local law must be adopted before the budget."
"This is not to be taken as indicative that the town will exceed the tax cap. ... All we are doing is passing a local law which gives to the municipality a safe harbor. If there are mathematical errors or misapplications, the penalty is such that it would be costly. I recommend doing this sooner rather than later."
Bob Reuther, a member of the public, interjected. "I don't think you answered his question. Could it be done later?"
Passafaro said his recommendation was that it be done now.
A budgetary hearing has to be held by Nov. 8, according to state regulations, so Passafaro urged that the local law be enacted now.
Supervisor Donald Steger pointed out that workers' compensation of about $57,000 costs would now be part of the budget and even though he reduced expenses in other lines, the budget would increase.
In the regular meeting, the resolution to pass Local Law 3 of 2012 to exceed the 2 percent tax cap if necessary was passed. Penharlow abstained.
The public hearing for the proposed budget was set for Nov. 7 at 6:15 p.m. at the Town Hall. In addition the board will be holding a workshop meeting after the public hearing.
Steger reported the seasonal tax collector has resigned because of family commitments. The position is part-time and seasonal. Steger requested those interested to forward a letter of intent to him at the Town of Pomfret Office, 9 Day St., Fredonia, N.Y. 14063. Preference will be given to a resident of Pomfret.
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