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Town of Potsdam approves yearly budget, outdoor wood boiler law, land annexation

After much deliberation and a final public hearing, the Town Council voted unanimously to approve its final budget at a meeting Thursday, but not before making revisions to the joint recreation budget that the town and village share. The board also approved a law concerning outdoor wood boilers, as well as village annexation of two parcels of land owned by Clarkson University.

Thursday’s board meeting was preceded by public hearings on the budget, the wood boiler law and the property annexation. Village officials were on hand for the hearings, although no members of the public were in attendance.

In the final budget, town residents will pay $2.90 per $1,000 of assessed property value, a 2 percent increase over 2013, which Town Supervisor Marie C. Regan attributed to fire protection costs. The fire district tax will increase from $0.737 to $0.768 per $1,000.

To stay under the state-mandated 2 percent property tax cap, the board also voted unanimously to revise its recreation budget, reducing costs from $178,037 to $163,037, a difference of $15,000.

“Every dollar counts,” Mrs. Regan said. “After several meetings with village officials and the rec director, we were able to further revise the rec budget.”

The board then voted to adjust general fund sales tax revenues by $15,000 from $56,963 to $71,963, lowering the general fund property tax rate by 3 percent, from $1.03 to $1 per $1,000.

Also at the meeting, the board approved a long-discussed law regarding outdoor wood boilers. The clarified law now requires only those installing new boilers or replacing old ones to get a permit, which is now free of charge. The permits the law requires help town code enforcement locate boilers when responding to complaints. Previously, the law included a fine and jail time for violators.

Additionally, the board voted to approve village annexation of two parcels at Damon Field belonging to Clarkson University. Village Mayor Steven W. Yurgartis and Mrs. Regan said previously that while not critical to airport operation, annexation of the properties — part of a plan to annex the airport fully into the village — may affect airport lighting and expansion, and will help the village secure grants.

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