Saturday, November 14, 2020

Wells works on 2021 budget

 Wells TB October 26 2020

Wells works on 2021 budget


WELLS—The Wells Town Board met on October 26 to work on the 2021 town budget.

Prior to budget discussions, Jim Abbott addressed the Board on the need for a Town Re-valuation that was discussed earlier this year. He explained that high end properties on the back side of the lake are currently under assessed therefore causing the moderate homeowners in Town to make up the difference by them paying more in taxes. One example he gave was recently a home assessed at $390,000 sold for $545,000.

Councilperson Andrew Lauria asked if we were to begin a re-assessment, when would it start. He was told it is a two-year process and Jim Basile would be the person to physically visit each property in Town. Abbott reiterated that a Re Val is inevitable by New York State.

Councilperson Rebekah Crewell asked if he knew when the State would mandate us to do so. Abbott felt if we were in the process in January/February 2021 we would be conforming with the State.


Supervisor Nick Mauro explained he is still in the process of gathering more information for Rob Berju. Primarily projected revenues which will be lower due to less sale of power, rental income down $500 per month and no sale of scrap revenue. 

Mauro would like to hire a part-time 12 hour per week office assistant bookkeeper as he feels the Town is vulnerable not having a second person who knows the payroll and bookkeeping system.

Crewell asked who in the past was a backup for the bookkeeper. Don Beach was able to process payroll and prior to him, Brian Towers knew all the aspects of the bookkeeping system. The position would include having knowledge of how to process payroll and the other duties of the primary bookkeeper, basically acting as her back up. By having this additional position, it would also free up the bookkeeper to remain caught up and to do other projects. Mauro stated that there is a lot that goes on in the office and 12 hours is not enough time for Jen to get things done and added she is an even keeled employee, a pillar of our community and the heavy workload is just not fair to her.

Highway Superintendent Earley sees how much her workload is and why he hired Councilperson Crewell to assist with the FEMA related workload.

Councilperson Lauria recalled in the spring Jen would be paid additional dollars for the FEMA related bookkeeping work. She has not been paid any additional dollars because she has not claimed any FEMA related hours. Councilperson Crewell is uncomfortable that no one else can process payroll and is concerned that we will be able to find the right candidate for the number of hours, confidentially, flexibility and knowledge of the position. Also, she would like to see Jen’s salary be brought up to what the former bookkeeper was making when she left in 2017.

Councilperson Lauria questioned how we can afford hiring another position at approximately $10,000 in addition to $22,000 Revaluation (undecided), $8,000 LED project, $7,050 RAN interest. Councilperson Lauria said the net cost for the LED project is approximately $1,800 not $8,000 due to the immediate decrease in the monthly electric bills once converted.

Superintendent Earley would like to lease two new trucks, more reasonable than purchasing and financing, one for General, one for Highway at approximately $10,000 each over 4 years. He also feels a 2% increase is only fair, noting the Wells school is receiving 5% this year and 4% each of the next 3 years.

Ryan expects us to begin receiving FEMA reimbursement in November.

This article is based upon the minutes of Maryellen Stofelano, Town Clerk.

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