Altamont eyes $2M budget

Village holds first budget workshop, reviews department requests

— Altamont’s Tentative 2013-14 budget increases spending by $120,000 to a total of nearly $2.1 million, but trustees have yet to weigh on potential cuts.

The Village Board of Trustees held its first budget workshop Tuesday, March 12, focusing on public works, police and fire departments and the Altamont Free Library budget requests. Trustees didn’t offer any proposed reductions, but simply reviewed what’s requested within the general fund appropriations totaling $1.1 million. The reaming water and sewer funds totaled about $1 million. No salary increases were included in the budget.

The police department budget remained relatively flat, increasing just $523, to a total of $170,000. Chief Todd Pucci said the department is proposing to reduce its reserves to $7,500.

The issuance of traffic tickets has increased, Pucci said, yielding more revenue for the village. In 2010, police issued 181 traffic tickets, which increased to 369 tickets in 2011 and 661 in 2012. There were also 47 arrests made last year.

Pucci said the increase is due to grant funding being based on the department’s “productivity,” with grant funding from the state and county increasing to help fund additional enforcement.

“We are doing more for less,” Pucci said. “Our budget is going down and the revenue is going up.”

Mayor James Gaughan said there is a wider array of offenses than simple traffic violations included in the 661 tickets.

“One gets the impression that we spend a lot of time just giving out traffic tickets, but this says there is a whole lot of other violations … that the public generally doesn’t know.”

Pucci said there were 18 drug-related arrests, 17 Vehicle and Traffic Law misdemeanor charges, one Penal Law misdemeanor and violation charge, that were included in the tickets issued.

“When you do a lot of vehicle and traffic like that you’re well seen throughout the village and it acts as a deterrent to other crimes,” Pucci said. “Everybody knows when you come to the village you slow down to 30 (mph).”

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