As in years past, 2011 was a busy year for the village Board of Trustees and its staff. Herewith, I provide you with a snapshot of current state of affairs for the village of Lake Placid.
Budget - The village has stayed within budget, thus adding to the fund balance while still accommodating contractual increases for wages and benefits.
Staffing - Village staffing has been reduced from 90 full-time equivalents (FTEs) in 2009 to 83 in 2010 to 75 in 2011. This has been accomplished through attrition (retirement) and staffing reorganization.
Lake Placid Police Department
Chief of police - William Moore was appointed police chief upon the retirement of Scott Monroe. Chief Moore has more than 20 years of experience with the LPPD, rising through the ranks to chief. The assistant chief position was not refilled.
Staffing - Department staffing has been reorganized and reduced through attrition from 14 to 10 FTEs with no layoffs. Recently, two retired New York state troopers were hired on a part-time basis to assist in covering vacations and benefit time. Police services have been maintained with minimal disruption.
Benefits - Health insurance benefit offerings for all village employees are currently under review.
Internal reorganization - The village's Accounting Department has been reorganized and a new operating system installed. This system provides significant improvement in overall control of village accounting records reducing the amount of manual handling of village records.
Personnel policies - A review and updating of the village's personnel policies has been undertaken and continues.
Codification of village minutes - One hundred and ten years of village minutes and local laws have been backed up electronically to assure protection of village records in event of destruction of original minutes by fire or flood.
Village website - The village of Lake Placid website was established and may be accessed at villageoflakeplacid.ny.gov.
Increases in village property tax levy have been kept below 2 percent for the last three years despite declining assessed property valuations experienced during the past three years. (See chart.)
Property tax levy as a percentage of general fund budget for the current budget year (2012) represents 61.66 percent of the total budget, compared to 63.81 percent for prior year 2011 and 64.58 percent for 2010.
|Year||General fund budget||Property tax levy||Tax rate/$1,000||Assessed valuation|
|2012||$5,406,188 (+0.25%)||$3,333,236 (-1.28%)||$5.4356 (+2.99%)||$613,226,460 (-1.66%)|
|2011||$5,157,768 (+0.93%)||$3,291,064 (-0.28%)||$5.2777 (+0.10%)||$623,576,036 (-0.38%)|
|2010||$5,110,175 (+4.82%)||$3,300,222 (+1.10%)||$5.2722 (+1.82%)||$625,961,136 (-0.71%)|
Online bill payments have been introduced for customer convenience.
Utility accounts - All utility accounts are being cross-referenced against respective properties to ensure that each property receiving utility service is billed correctly.
Water-sewer meters - Electronic readings for water-sewer meters have been initiated and the village is now in the process of upgrading electric commercial demand meters. Water rates will be reviewed as part of 2012-13 budget review process.
Transportation and parking
Transportation - The Lake Placid village's public transportation system has been maintained without increasing expense to taxpayers, providing service to 90,000 passengers in 2011 - a 4 percent increase over the past year.
Hybrid bus - In keeping with green initiatives, the village has ordered a hybrid bus with grant funding through our partnership with the New York Power Authority. This will support increased traffic at the Conference Center and provide more comfortable winter service for village residents and visitors.
Trolley service - Ridership continues to be free of charge due to grant funding received that partially underwrites this service.
Village parking lot - Parking meter pay stations were introduced in the village's main parking lot with rates structured to encourage longer-term parking. This allowed the village to reduce staffing.
Main Street south - Additional pay station meters were introduced on Main Street from the village parking lot to the North Elba Town Hall, replacing the last of the old mechanical meters. Retired meters have been offered for sale to the public.
Parking meter revenues - Overall, 2011 meter revenues reflect an increase of 65 percent over 2009, from $197,000 to $325,000. This effectively reduces by 10 percent the amount that otherwise would be raised by the property tax levy.
HUD subsidized rent program - The village continued to support low-income families through this program, with 58 recipients receiving a total of $127,000 in rent subsidies.
Community Development Block Grant - Grant funding was concluded with $440,000 in property improvements for several eligible Lake Placid homes.
Independent Energy Efficiency Program (home insulation) - This program was instituted during 2011 for eligible electric customers of the Lake Placid Electric Department and is ongoing. To date, more than 40 residences heated by electric heat have benefited.
Lake Placid Village Electric Department - Via the IEEP and New York Power Authority programs, the Lake Placid Electric Department has provided:
-insulation for the town hall
-lighting fixture conversions for the Lake Placid school system and the Olympic Center
-residential solar energy projects that were installed for three Lake Placid properties and North Country School.