Comprehensive Plan Presents Added Cost For Lakewood To Consider

LAKEWOOD – There was a dispute over Lakewood’s budget Monday night.

David DiSalvo, village trustee, started a lengthy discussion about moving money out of the fire department’s budget to set aside for the creation of a village comprehensive plan. According to David Wordelmann, mayor, nobody on the board supported the proposal.

“I don’t think any of us are against (writing a comprehensive plan),” Wordelmann said. “We’re basically against last-minute changes. He actually wanted to add to the budget, spend more money, and of course that would have increased taxes. The rest of the board was against increasing taxes, so his other option at that point was to take money from somewhere else.”

Residents at the meeting were split on putting money in the budget for a comprehensive plan, Wordelmann said.

The tax rate is $7.48 per $1,000 of assessed value as compared to the past tax rate of $7.53 per $1,000.

The total appropriations are $3,367,171, an increase of $101,109 over the prior year’s spending. The spending increase includes two items totaling $78,462, which are reimbursed by the state but must be shown as expenditures in the budget. They are offset on the revenue side, thereby holding the taxpayers unaccountable. These items are the K-9 unit ($59,782) and CHIPS funding ($18,680).

The rest of the increase is due mainly to a $15,000 increase in liability insurance, a projected $24,000 increase in health insurance premiums and a $3,000 increase in county-mandated workmen’s compensation costs.

The tax levy – the amount raised through property taxes – remained basically flat going from $1,705,355 to $1,705,599.

The budget passed 3-1 with DiSalvo voting against. Trustee John Jablonski III was not in attendance.

In other news, there was a discussion about solicitors begging for money on the sidewalks near Wal-Mart. Some residents were offended by the solicitors, but there are no ordinances against them standing on public property. Village Attorney Edward Wright was looking to see whether ordinances could be made, but believed it would go against the First Amendment. The village can only do something about the solicitors if Wal-Mart decides to press charges – which they have not.

The village did its yearly organizational meeting as well as authorized Wordelmann to attend New York Conference of Mayor’s 105th annual meeting and training school on May 4-6 at the Gideon Putnam Hotel in Saratoga Springs. Wordelmann will be reimbursed for any and all legal expenses incurred. The board also authorized the Lakewood Fire Department, using its enclosed trailer, to transport the 1914 Model-T Ford Fire Truck to Medina, Ohio, over the Fourth of July holiday. This is because the truck – a Packard truck – is originally from Ohio and Medina is having a celebration.