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Aurora

Town officials reschedule budget hearing


Clerk-treasurer says delay caused by short notice, supervisor's request



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Larry Kulik
November 22, 2011 | 08:51 AM
GENEVA — No, your mind wasn't playing tricks on you.

Last week, the town posted notices for a public hearing on the proposed 2012 budget for next Monday, Nov. 28, at 5:30 p.m.

Then, on Nov. 16, Town Clerk-Treasurer Debra Kirch said the hearing was rescheduled to Monday, Dec. 5.

Kirch said she had to pull last week's notices announcing a Nov. 28 hearing from the posting locations and the town's website.

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She also cancelled an ad which was going to run in last week's Regional News announcing a Nov. 28 hearing.

"We pulled everything so people wouldn't think this is still going on at that day and time," Kirch said.

So why the delay? Kirch gave two reasons.

First, she said they may have given too short a notice for the Nov. 28 hearing.

"We have to publish the notice 15 days before the hearing," she said.

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Kirch also said a Town Board supervisor's request concerning one aspect of the town's budget required them to delay the hearing.

She said Supervisor Larry Kulik requested a budget workshop, which occurred last Wednesday, Nov. 16.

However, only Kulik and Town Chairman Joe Kopecky attended the workshop meeting.

"The meeting was not called to order as there was no quorum," Kirch stated in an e-mail.

Although Kulik expressed his desire to see a smaller budget for the Geneva Town Municipal Court in a Nov. 16 interview, time is running out for the board.

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"I believe the budget has to be adopted by Dec. 8," Kirch said.

She said despite how the budget changed in the time between hearing notices, "the bottom line is not changing."

Kirch estimates the town's tax rate may increase by 2 cents — from $1.95 per $1,000 of assessed value to $1.97.

If the rate holds, that means the owner of town property worth $200,000 would pay $394 for town services.

Portions of a town resident's taxes also go toward the state, Walworth County, Gateway Technical College and local school districts.

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More about the town's proposed budget will appear in next week's Regional News.

But according to the current summary, the budget may decrease more than 3.8 percent to more than $2.78 million.

Striving for efficiency

In the creation of this budget proposal, Kulik said town department heads were asked to reduce their operating costs by 4 or 5 percent.

However, he said he wanted to see more chopped from the town court budget — 15 percent more, to be exact.

Kulik also said he got an 8-percent cut in the court budget, that it went down into the $90,000 range.

But according to a spreadsheet provided by Kirch, the amount in the current 2012 budget proposal for court is $105,292. This year's court budget was $114,365.

But why in the first place did Kulik ask for a steeper cut in the court budget?

Kulik said he wants town government to be as efficient as possible.

The town of Geneva court has two office staff members — one full-timer, one part-time. Kulik said he discovered other communities have fewer.

"I found out the town of Delavan, which I think is (comparable) to the town of Geneva, has one part-time clerk and a judge," he said. "The town of Linn, their municipal clerk is their court clerk (and) in the town of Bloomfield, they have one full-time clerk."

Kulik said Geneva Town Judge Scott Letteney told him it is a statutory requirement that a court clerk be separate from municipal offices.

Kulik said he will look into that, but questioned why clerks in other areas are pulling double-duty.

"I'm not trying to say I want Deb Kirch to be our town's clerk of courts," Kulik said. "I just want one full-time clerk."

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