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Village Manager's Message-March 11, 2010
Dear Fellow Citizen,

Welcome to the revamped and improved Village website. With the passage of time, we believed it was necessary to take a critical look at how we can better inform residents on activities offered by their community and to seek out ways to improve means of communication. This website offers an expanded level of information.

Over the next several weeks the Board of Trustees and the community will have an opportunity to discuss the proposed operating budget for the Village. The spending plan which I will present to the Board of Trustees next week offers limited modification to the level of services we will provide. This budget will continue a trend begun last year in the development of an austere budget reflecting fewer employees providing a level of services Village residents expect. The budget has been hamstrung by cost factors presently beyond local control (i.e. increased pension costs, medical insurance and employee payroll taxes) and loss of outside revenues. More specifically, this budget discussion will include the adverse impact declining sales tax, mortgage tax and lost assessed values have had upon operations. It is anticipated that during the public hearing on the budget scheduled to be held on April 13,  beginning at 7:30 PM, we will learn whether taxpayers are willing to pay increased taxes to cover the revenue shortfalls. The effects of the recession being felt nationwide have had a dramatic impact on all municipalities. Hard decisions need to be made as they relate to the budget for the fiscal year beginning June 1. Enterprising governments must explore their capacity to restructure. How we do business has become  increasingly critical as we strive to provide the level of service demanded and resist the pressure to further burden property owners through higher taxes.

Every means to reduce our expenditures will continue to be explored. For example, over  the next several months aggressive efforts will be undertaken  to improve the level of rubbish recycling and to seek out means to reduce energy costs. In the past I have spoken about the importance of improved recycling as a means to reduce the cost of trash disposal cost. We will be embarking on a program of public education to heighten everyone's awareness of waste reduction.  The Village presently awaits word on recent grant submittals to provide the conversion of streetlights with energy-efficient LED lighting.

Just a word to the community regarding the late winter storm we suffered a few days ago. A storm such as we experienced is typically one of the more difficult to fight. Its duration and heavy wet snow places a dramatic impact upon equipment and manpower. A note of thanks is owed to the men and women whom worked diligently during the storm. In particular, the volunteer firemen, members of the Department of Public Works and police performed admirably in responding to many citizen calls. Many thanks for the kind comments we received voicing appreciation for how our employees went about combating that winter event.

Francis A. Frobel, Village Manager

Village of Hastings-on-Hudson, New York