By Dave Fidlin
Several disparate scenarios could bring a series of amendments to Rochester’s 2023 municipal budget, based on a current proposal.
The Village Board on May 8 discussed, but took no action on, a request from Village Administrator Betty Novy to amend several line items within the operating plan.
“Several unforeseen events and requests require budget amendments, some impacting the budget positively, and some impacting the budget negatively,” Novy said. “Fortunately, they balance each other out.”
On the revenue side, Rochester is poised to receive more than initially anticipated in interest income from temporary investments within the 2023 budget.
When the draft 2023 budget was adopted late last year, $15,000 was initially incorporated into the budget. But as rates have continued climbing upward, revised projections actually peg that figure at $53,953, according to figures Novy presented at the meeting.
On the expense side of the ledger, a number of changes also are under consideration, impacting personnel costs and building infrastructure needs.
The proposed increase of a part-time public works employee from 200 hours to 650 hours garnered robust discussion when the proposal was deliberated at the recent meeting.
If approved, the village’s line item for public works wages would increase $5,700 from the current rate of $52,000 to $57,700. Additionally, the public works FICA line item within the budget would increase $436, bringing the total to $4,414, rather than the current $3,978 figure.
Novy said the increase in personnel resources within the public works department is aimed at completing several as-yet unfinished projects.
Village President Ed Chart said he had reservations of more than tripling the number of hours allotted to part-time public works staffing.
“I just can’t stomach this,” Chart said. “I think it’s excessive.”
The village in recent years has relied on Public Works Director Christopher Birkett to oversee tasks within the department, though additional assistance was allotted last year.
“There’s a lot of expectations, and there’s one person,” Novy said, referring to the scenario that had been in place with Birkett. “Unless you’re doing it, you don’t fully understand.”
Trustee Chris Johnson said he believed the additional assistance has been beneficial as public works tasks are being carried out.
“I don’t doubt that we need another guy,” Johnson said.
Novy in a report to the board did list several public works projects that could be tackled with the additional dollars in the personnel budget. Among them: installing house number signs in the historic district and an assortment of brush cutting and shoulder projects.
Trustee Leslie Kinsey successfully made a motion to table the wholesale list of budget amendments so more information on the incomplete public works tasks could be furnished at a future meeting.
Other requested budget amendments from Novy and other village staffers include funds to cover unanticipated parking lot and building repairs for village hall and the fire station.
Novy said the adjustments include a “$1,000 insurance deductible, which will be applicable to fire station restoration costs after the building incurred water damage on April 14th.”