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March 14, 2013

Village begins budget work

The Cooperstown village budget preparation should be a kinder, gentler process this year as Mayor Jeff Katz’s first year in office ends and his first budget nears presentation.

“Jeff, he was a trustee for (seven) years before he was mayor, he was the chair of the finance committee, so he knows what is going on,” Trustee Jim Dean said. “He’s got a great mind for finances. And he is meeting with everyone, and everyone is working together to present the budget. The last mayor did it all himself, and then handed it to the board.”

Katz admits his style is different than Joe Booan, his predecessor. But when the tentative budget is submitted on March 20, he said, he thinks the end results will be similar to the budget process before Booan, when Katz served as the chairman of the finance committee.

“It is a throwback in a way to something I started as few years ago,” he said. “It used to be that the mayor and the finance chair worked on the budget. I thought it would be better to open it up to the entire board. They are all elected officials and they all have good ideas and different thoughts about where to save money and how to do things. Why not allow everyone to have their say?

“With Joe, he met with the department heads, but they would do it themselves and then present it to the board,” Katz said. “That was his legal right as the mayor. He had the right to do that, but the result was the trustees had very little time to do anything or give their opinions.”

Katz said the thing that has not changed is the financial climate. Sales taxes are still flat and the economy is still ailing. In addition, because of the expected flat induction weekend, the board lowered sales tax expectations by about $10,000.

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