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Smooth Budget Ride

Road improvement and storm preparation dominated the discussion of the Village of Mineola’s preliminary 2014-15 budget released last week. The proposed budget totals $19.33 million, a 1.38 percent increase from last year.

The tentative budget also represents a .34 percent tax increase from last year, when Mineola’s tax bump was .74 percent.

 

The village has budgeted almost $1 million for road and curb upgrades, Mayor Scott Strauss estimated. The road maintenance line in the budget received an $80,000 to increase to $580,000.

 

Mineola’s contract for curb improvements went from $200,000 to $225,000. Money budgeted for street and highway improvements totaled $218,943. 

 

“That [$1 million] is budgeted,” Strauss said. “We don’t have to take loans out. We don’t have to owe anyone anything on it. It will repave roads and fix curbs in the village.”

 

Road work in the village more than doubled over the last few years. In previous budgets, road maintenance totaled about $300,000.

 

“In the last few years, we have been repairing all the curbs and driveway aprons,” Village Public Works Superintendent Tom Rini said. “We’re reconstructing roads so it become. In discussing what’s planned in the budget, it gives you that comfortability level to know you can add an extra road or make sure you finish.”

 

The current budget allots $45,000 for road salt. Mineola budgeted $40,000 last year and exceeded that by more than $10,000, but Strauss said contingency funds were used to offset going over budget last year.

 

“We did go over budget in [snow removal] this year,” Rini said. “I still have some bills coming in.”

 

Mineola typically uses 600-750 tons of salt in a year, but ran into supply issues after a series of snowstorms in December and the beginning of 2014. Rini estimated that the village went 120 percent past its normal usage.

 

“Our salt line did increase,” Rini said. “Due to that, we did exceed what we normally ordered and we exceeded by such a point that you start to go into a higher pay category.”

 

The cost of health benefits increased from $2.15 million to $2.19 million. 

 

“There are some increases that are out of our control,” Strauss said. “We had New York State retirement contributions increase $94,000. Liability insurance increased $25,000. But after all of that, we’re still at .34 percent.”