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April 8, 2010

Booan takes the helm as new C’town leader


BY JIM AUSTIN
THE COOPERSTOWN CRIER

Joe Booan was sworn in at noon Monday and later that evening set an aggressive agenda for the village during the board of trustees’ annual reorganizational meeting.

Before making the annual appointments and designations, Booan told board members he wanted to ``define where we are and where we want to go.’’

Booan said it is important to ``completely understand’’ the village’s financial status as the process of formulating a budget for the coming year nears completion. He said he met with the village’s auditor to gain a better understanding of that status and will take over the budget process.

``At this point, I will take control of the budget process to date and continue the hard work that the trustees have begun to prepare a budget for the fiscal year,’’ he said. The recently completed tentative budget calls for a three percent increase in the tax rate and will be the subject a public hearing April 12.

``After speaking to the auditor, it is my goal to try to keep taxes in check and provide a budget that reflects responsibility in our current economic climate. I will be working with our treasurer and trustees over the next few weeks to finalize a budget that is appropriate for our needs,’’ he told the board.

Booan also said he intends to seek a collaborative partnership with Otsego County Treasurer Dan Crowell and to open a dialogue with the county and eventually other towns to explore more cost effective ways of delivering services.

``There is much work ahead of us, but also much potential opportunity,’’ he said.

Trustees will have their work cut out for them on their board and committee assignments. Booan charged the trustees with the goal of defining the mission and setting priorities for each of the committees and boards.

``It is imperative that each committee set both short- and long-term goals; goals that we are to accomplish within the next three months, goals that we want to have accomplished by this time next year.

I will hold committees to these goals and measured outcomes. The mayor said he will provide recommendations prior to the initial meetings in an effort to facilitate the process, which he wants completed by the June board meeting.

Committee and boards are also being asked to compile an updated inventory of assets, their status, and plans to upgrade, alter or improve them.

Each chair is expected to have that report completed in July.

``All trustees must understand our status to help participate in meaningful conversations about how to allocate our resources,’’ he said.

Booan, who consolidated some committees during the reorganizational meeting wants to continue to look at the structure of village government to determine if it is the most efficient structure or ``if we have continued to create an expanding bureaucracy that may have lost its sense of mission, and therefore has become less effective.’’

In August, after the tasks have been completed, Booan wants to produce a ``state of our village report’’ for residents.

``It will be a summary of where we are, and what direction we hope to steer our village,’’ he said.