Recent opinions about Mayor Krebs’s leadership of the village are misinformed and misleading. First, it is true that trustees approve sustainable budgets with modest tax increases in the village. However, it does not follow that the Town Council needs to do the same. By town figures, Concord has enjoyed an average of six new home builds a year, adding tax revenues to its general fund every year without increasing the tax rate. Managing the town budget is far different that managing the much larger village budget.
With its affordable utilities, services and infrastructure, the village continues to be an attractive affordable place to live. Even though village residents pay town taxes in addition to village taxes, there is no evidence that people are leaving the village to live in the town or elsewhere. There is evidence that residents are reinvesting in their homes and businesses are investing in Springville. As such, the village did raise village taxes. Trustees kept the tax rate increase below 2 percent, but not under the much lower NYS tax cap. New York state requires that municipalities which might exceed the NYS tax levy cap to pass a law authorizing it to do so far in advance of proposed budget. The village, as did many villages, followed this process when preparing its budgets. While the NYS tax cap was exceeded, the village stayed under 2 percent.
The resulting excellent village’s financial position afforded grants and excellent bond ratings that secured smooth operation of the village. The cost to taxpayers (none of whom have complained) was minimal, and the gain in leveraged grants (over $5,000,000 since Mayor Krebs was an elected official) and low interest rates reduced the cost of village operation. Finally, the tax credit program was over last year. Yes, municipal finances are complex.
The village maintains a firefighting apparatus reserve fund. The fund is in good shape, the trustees did not rob from it. Money was appropriated to the new firefighting and EMT center at 65 Franklin St. That appropriation is not robbery! It was a wise decision to fund a needed facility for our firemen. Finally, the village planning for projects have been transparent. Multiple public meetings on design and funding were held for every project – some on site, some on Saturday mornings. All plans and budgets are explained on the village website. The notion that a referendum is the only way to provide transparency is not correct and shows a limited understanding of government operations and present day communication with residents.
The town cannot afford not to have better leadership in the budget process. Mayor Krebs has shown how a rural village with flat assessment growth improved its financial position, leveraged state and county grants and improve services and facilities for residents. Vote for leadership and unity, not fear and divisiveness. Vote Elect New Concord – Bill Krebs, Jon Hamann and Matt Mayer.