Village of Potsdam approves budget, bid for fluoridation study

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POTSDAM — The village on Monday passed its 2019 budget, raising the tax rate by 2 percent per $1,000 of assessed value to $18.197.

“We actually cut a lot,” Village Administrator Gregory O. Thompson said of the budget. “We’re going to have to be careful.”

The budget stayed unchanged from the initial draft, except for two items. The village’s contribution to the Potsdam Public Museum increased from $15,810 to $21,340, and the village is adding $7,500 for a state unfunded mandate, a disability policy for volunteer firefighters who develop cancer.

The total levy, or amount to be raised by taxes, this year is $3,825,338, a 2.27 percent increase over the levy of $3,740,325 raised last year. Because of a state law capping levy increases at 2 percent or the rate of inflation, the board also had to vote on Monday to override the tax cap.

Under the final tax rate, residents with $100,000 in assessed value will pay $1,819.71 in taxes.

Also on Monday, the board accepted a proposal from Environmental Design and Research for $9,900 to prepare an engineering report on the village’s fluoridation system. The report will provide a cost estimate for fixing or replacing the village’s aging fluoridation equipment. It will be paid for out of a $11,000 state Department of Health grant.

The continuation of fluoridation of the village’s water has been a controversial subject of debate on the board and among residents for months.

At one point, the board seemed interested in voting before seeking bids for the report and returning the grant money if it decided to discontinue fluoridation. Now, according to Mr. Thompson, the vote will likely be conducted after the report is finished.

“I’m very confident (Environmental Design and Research will) be able to pull this together before the deadline of December,” Mr. Thompson said. “We can’t keep delaying this.”

He said he hopes the report might be finished before December.

In other business, the trustees approved the sale of an old wood-burning stove from the village Department of Public Works garage to Dustin Bradley for $225.

While the stove burned wood the DPW crews collected from downed trees, officials say it was highly inefficient and not worth the time spent on processing the wood it burned.

“You’re losing money, you’re wasting taxpayer money,” Mr. Thompson said of maintaining the stove.

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