MESSAGE FROM DEPUTY SUPERVISOR PETE MARSTON:
Recently the Supervisor’s office has been getting questions on various issues. Since many may have the same questions, I will be sharing my responses here.
This week I am providing details on our budget and the process in establishing a budget for the Town.
To simplify I will use bullet points to outline the procedure. This is a function of the Town Supervisor, this year I am fulfilling these responsibilities as Deputy Supervisor.
Budget preparation cycle begins in July.
• The Town of Grand Island has 8 funds, each with their own separate budget. They are General, Highway, Sewer, Water, Refuse (Garbage), Lighting, Debt Service and Fire.
• You cannot share monies between these funds, each fund has its own tax base, so tax revenue and expenditures cannot be shared with other funds. These funds operate as 8 distinct entities. Think of 8 separate businesses.
• Department Heads receive budget request packets from the Town Accountant in July and are due back in early August. There is very little discretionary spending in a department budget. Payroll is a big driver in the budgets, and Department Heads have no say in staffing or salaries.
• The Town Accountant then compiles these requests from the Department Heads - all requests are represented.
• The Town Accountant then meets with the Supervisor (Deputy Supervisor) to go through requests to look at the impact on the budget and taxes and other revenue streams to offset the expenditures.
• The Supervisor (Deputy Supervisor) meets with the Department Heads about their requests, the current needs and long-term plans and puts forth what he feels is prudent.
• The Supervisor (Deputy Supervisor) with the assistance of the Town Accountant establishes the Supervisor Recommended Budget(s) for the 8 funds.
• These Supervisor Recommended Budget(s) are filed with the Town Clerk as outlined below:
o Special districts budgets which include Water Fund, Sewer Fund, Refuse Fund and Lighting Fund by law, are due on or before September 15.
o The remaining budgets, General Fund, Highway Fund, Fire Fund and Debt Service Fund, by law, are due on or before September 30.
• The above are considered the legal budgets once filed with the Clerk (including figures for tax levy, expenses other revenue expectations).
• In early October the Town Accountant will distribute budget binders to each Town Board member, which include all the Department Head requests and the Supervisor Recommended Budget(s) as filed with the Town Clerk, with all the detailed revenue and expenditure figures for all 8 budgets, along with other historical information for the Board.
• Town Board Budget Workshops are scheduled for later in October, this allows time for the Town Board to review and research any questions for the workshop discussion. Historically there have been 2 of these workshops to get through the discussion of the 8 funds in the budget. These workshops are recorded and can be viewed live and are open to the public. There is often a portion of one workshop with an executive session needed if specific personnel items included in the Budget(s) need discussion.
• A Public Hearing on the Budget must be held on or before the Thursday immediately following the General Election, this allows Grand Island residents to comment on the Budget. For 2023 this Public Hearing must be on November 10 or earlier as election day is November 7. The Island Dispatch and Town website both publish a summary of the Budgets. A more detailed paper packet is available the evening of the Public Hearing.
• A vote for Adoption of the Budget by the Town Board must occur no later than November 20. This can occur as early as the conclusion of the Public Hearing, or at a subsequent Board Meeting or Workshop.
• In NYS, if the occasion were to occur that a Board cannot come to agreement on an alternate budget to the Supervisor Recommended Budget, then the Supervisor Recommended Budget becomes the adopted budget by default. There is no limbo or gap as can occur at the State level when agreement cannot be reached by their April 1 deadline.
We are now in the process of scheduling the Budget Workshops, the dates will be posted as soon as they are scheduled, and the workshops will be streamed on the Town’s YouTube channel.
I do hope this answers the questions we have received. My office will do all we can to keep you informed and provide clear information on your concerns or questions.