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Ellicott Eyes $100,000 Cut From Next Year’s Budget

To prevent a substantial tax levy increase, Ellicott officials will be looking to cut at least $100,000 from next year’s budget.

On Tuesday, Patrick McLaughlin, town supervisor, told The Post-Journal the 2021 tentative budget hearing will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 5., at the town hall, located at 215 S. Work St., Falconer. He said after the budget hearing town officials will continue to work on the budget.

“At that point, we can still make changes to the budget,” he said. “We’re going to do the best we can. Obviously, with the state of things and sales tax (revenues) being down, we will have to make cuts.”

McLaughlin estimates $100,000 will need to be cut from this year’s budget to make ends meet.

“If there is a tax increase, it will be minimal if we can get that $100,000 cut,” he said.

Town officials are still meeting with department heads to try and find savings, McLaughlin said. He said fixed costs like employee salaries are tough because they cannot be changed despite the reduction in revenues because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I can’t think of too many municipalities that are having a fun year,” he said. “Wish list items will probably be where we have to put the hammer down.”

In other business, town officials discussed Local Law No. 2, which will require a permit when a contractor is working in the town right-of-way. McLaughlin said contractors doing work on private property have gone onto a public right-of-way and caused damaged several times over the years. He said through the years the town has probably paid thousands to fix issues created by private contractors in the public right-of-way.

“In the past, (contractors) have gone ahead and did work and walked away. In most cases they’ve left the town to repair what was dug in the right-of-way,” McLaughlin said. “The right-of-way is town property.”

McLaughlin said the new law will create a process where contractors will have to acquire a permit from the town if any work will be done on the public right-of-way. He said there will be a permit fee and a fine structure established for violations and work done without the permit.

“This way they have to contact the highway superintendent to go over the regulations when working in the right-of-way to return it to original condition,” he said. “For those that decide not to obey the law, we will have a fine structure that will offset any cost to the town.”

McLaughlin said a public hearing on Local Law No. 2 will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19, prior to the town’s regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. The board is scheduled to vote on the law during its regular meeting.

The board also approved renewing its membership to the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance. McLaughlin said, like the rest of the mayors and supervisors in the municipalities surrounding the lake, the town is renewing its membership. He said town officials work with the alliance when it comes to breing rewarded grants from local foundations for herbicide applications and to acquring the necessary permits from the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

“(The alliance) is for lake management and watershed management around Chautauqua Lake and they support the town of Ellicott and other communities around the lake,” he said. “We joined to work with the alliance to make sure we qualify for what we need to do (for the lake and its watershed).”

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