2017-02-17 / Front Page

Residents encouraged to attend budget meetings

BY RIKKI MASSAND

This week Mayor Episcopia announced that the Village will hold its annual tour of village facilities on Saturday, March 11 starting at 8 a.m. The tour will include the Garden City Water Department and the Department of Public Works’ Garage and equipment facility (the Village Yard). Since January several residents sent emails to Deputy Village Administrator/Secretary to the Board of Trustees Joseph DiFrancisco, and he had commented on the feedback at the last Village Board meeting.

Setting the tour’s date for March became a priority upon a request from Trustee Robert Bolebruch. At the time and again this week, Mayor Nicholas Episcopia said he hopes more than a few dozen residents attend and talk a walk through of the municipal operations.

Meanwhile the annual budget information sessions are scheduled for dates prior to and after the facilities tour. They begin with the Wednesday March 1 session, the night before the first Village Board meeting of March. Then March 9 and March 15 are scheduled budget sessions, with the latter again coming a night before the Board meets. The final budget session is listed as “if necessary” at this time and it is planned for Thursday night, March 23.

All budget sessions begin at 7:30 pm at Village Hall on the scheduled dates. The Village of Garden City anticipates its budget adoption to take place on Monday, April 3 at the Board of Trustees’ reorganization meeting. Mayor Episcopia, on behalf of the Board of Trustees and Village Executive Staff tell the News they are pleased to invite residents to be proactive in the process in the weeks ahead.

“We all should attend, as many people as possible. I believe Administrator Suozzi, Village Treasurer Irene Woo and staff have tried to work towards mak- ing the budget more user-friendly and visually appealing,” he said.

At the February 2 Village Board meeting, Trustee Theresa Trouvé urged residents to participate by turning up to meetings and voicing any opinions they would like to share. She stressed the iterative process ahead with the budget and village-wide investments.

“I know perhaps you’ve never looked at it this way but it is your budget – it’s your budget and we are offering you the opportunity with our budget workshops in the month of March to come and be a part of that. They occur at 7:30 pm so please come over for them, bring a friend or neighbors. This time of year the Citizens’ Budget Review and Advisory Committee (CBRAC) begins its work, and two representatives from each POA are on that committee. They’re good liaisons for you and you can share ideas. They study the various departments and this year they are going to focus on the large and complicated Department of Public Works and Parks and Recreation. These are departments that use a lot of the village budget money and they have a very high profile before the community. We can’t accept every suggestion due to factors such as union contracts, state regulations and insurance issues, but certainly we think out there in our community of such talented people there are probably good ideas that we can profit from – let’s make the budget a living thing for the whole community, and let us hear your input,” she announced.

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