Village Updates

RE: PRESS RELEASE: Water Bills

From: Office of the Mayor of Homer, New York

The Village of Homer would like to thank all of the Village residents for your patience regarding our tardiness sending out the water bills. Unfortunately, due to new meter installations and numerous water main breaks, we have been delayed in getting the water meter reads at the normal time. As a result of the late reads, water bills may be higher. As some of the meters were read about a month late, some people will have more water consumption to be charged for. For those people, the next reads will be a month less, therefore, less consumption and less charge. Furthermore, the Village will redeploy some of its workforce to keep on pace with the next cycle of water meter reading.

Also, some of the bills have the usage dates wrong; this is simply due to the way the program was initially set up. The accounts that were on a handheld meter system, then switched to the new meter system, have the old dates (from when it was on the handheld meter reader). We are diligently working with our software company to rectify. All of the meter reads are accurate, and the amount charged is correct.
Again, we would like to thank you for your patience and apologize for any inconvenience.

Further inquiries concerning Water Bills can be directed to the Village Clerk Office, email at clerk@homerny.org or telephone - (607) 753-3327.
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RE: PRESS RELEASE: Water Bills

From: Office of the Mayor of Homer, New York

The Village of Homer would like to thank all of the Village residents for your patience regarding our tardiness sending out the water bills. Unfortunately, due to new meter installations and numerous water main breaks, we have been delayed in getting the water meter reads at the normal time. As a result of the late reads, water bills may be higher. As some of the meters were read about a month late, some people will have more water consumption to be charged for. For those people, the next reads will be a month less, therefore, less consumption and less charge. Furthermore, the Village will redeploy some of its workforce to keep on pace with the next cycle of water meter reading.

Also, some of the bills have the usage dates wrong; this is simply due to the way the program was initially set up. The accounts that were on a handheld meter system, then switched to the new meter system, have the old dates (from when it was on the handheld meter reader). We are diligently working with our software company to rectify. All of the meter reads are accurate, and the amount charged is correct.
Again, we would like to thank you for your patience and apologize for any inconvenience.

Further inquiries concerning Water Bills can be directed to the Village Clerk Office, email at clerk@homerny.org or telephone - (607) 753-3327.

 

Comment on Facebook

Adrian Pless

Thank you! I was wondering why our bill seemed off.

Tonight's paper said homeowners experiencing a hardship paying the 4 month water bill can contact the mayor's office and arrangements for partial payment will be considered.

A letter from the board about next year's budget:

Dear Village Residents:

The Board of Trustees and I just concluded our 5th budget hearing and there is good news and anticipated news. Due to the hard work of Kristen Case and the village office staff, major billing errors were discovered that pre-date my administration. By correcting those mistakes, we increased sewer revenue by nearly $100,000, thereby eliminating the shortfall our water and sewer department would face next year. Thanks to this fix, the planned second phase of water and sewer rate increases will not be necessary, saving the average household between $50 and $75 per year.

Now, for the anticipated news. As many of you are aware, the Village of Homer has faced annual deficits, including the one I inherited when assuming office. Before discussing a plan that could offer solutions for this perennial problem, I'd like to outline the steps actually taken to minimize the impact of the upcoming budgetary gap on Homer residents. These decisions will limit a rise in property taxes to no more than 1.9%, or about $20 or $25 more per household.

In the past, and for this current fiscal year, the savings account was used to substantially reduce the Village's operating deficit. This is not a sustainable way to manage the Village's funds. Our savings should be used for investments in durable items and long term projects, rather than compensate for a lack of spending discipline. In order to safeguard this reserve as much as possible, we undertook the following actions.

The initial budget gap for 2018-19 was well over $300,000. Careful analysis and budget trimming enabled us to cut that number in half. The Village has several large initiatives underway which require full funding on our part, or in most cases, partial funding to cover our required contribution toward a grant-funded project. These initiatives include: shade tree planting, pruning and removal, LED Streetlight conversion, a large sewer infrastructure project, continued revitalization of the Route 11 corridor, revamping the recreation department, safety netting at Griggs Field and a new building at "the pit" among several others. Given the deficit, we put several projects on the back burner for now, and will address them in the coming years as funding allows.

Mothballing projects did lower the deficit but not to a degree to hold the line to a marginal property tax increase. As a consequence, I asked each department head to provide a prospective budget with 10% cuts in equipment and overhead, detailing any potential impact on Village citizens. This type of request is never easy. We are very lucky to have an amazing group of hard working employees who routinely go the extra mile for residents, and are at the core of what makes the Village of Homer such a fantastic place to live. When I became mayor, I was not surprise to discover many Village employees work second jobs to make ends meet. Although we compensated for low wages by granting a 2% cost of living increase, we were still able to reduce department budgets by 10% with minimal impact to the services provided by the village.

All these cost-saving measures did help with our deficit but what could provide a long-term remedy is a multi-faceted, multi-year capital investment and operating plan. Right now, all budgeting is done on a reactionary basis, rather than allowing us to plan proactively. For instance, if your refrigerator has 3 more years of life, planning for that eventuality allows you to budget and save for a new one. A far better scenario then scrambling to find a way to pay for a new one when the old one fails. Accordingly, this year we will do a full scale asset audit and prepare a five-year plan.

In closing, I would like to give thanks to my department heads for working with me to help reach a balanced budget. I would also like to give special thanks to my Board of Trustees: Kevin Slack, Pat Clune, Ed Finkbeiner and Tim Daley. Working with a Board of Trustees who are unified and in sync allows us to avoid gridlock and achieve results. While we may not always agree on every issue, we are able to discuss things in a friendly way and achieve compromise without conflict. It is the dedication and openness of these trustees that will allow this Village to move ahead on so many important projects.

Thank you for your understanding as we move forward,

Mayor Hal McCabe
Village of Homer Trustees: Clune, Daley, Finkbeiner and Slack
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A letter from the board about next years budget:

Dear Village Residents:

The Board of Trustees and I just concluded our 5th budget hearing and there is good news and anticipated news. Due to the hard work of Kristen Case and the village office staff, major billing errors were discovered that pre-date my administration. By correcting those mistakes, we increased sewer revenue by nearly $100,000, thereby eliminating the shortfall our water and sewer department would face next year. Thanks to this fix, the planned second phase of water and sewer rate increases will not be necessary, saving the average household between $50 and $75 per year.  

Now, for the anticipated news. As many of you are aware, the Village of Homer has faced annual deficits, including the one I inherited when assuming office.  Before discussing a plan that could offer solutions for this perennial problem, Id like to outline the steps actually taken to minimize the impact of the upcoming budgetary gap on Homer residents.  These decisions will limit a rise in property taxes to no more than 1.9%, or about $20 or $25 more per household.

In the past, and for this current fiscal year, the savings account was used to substantially reduce the Villages operating deficit.  This is not a sustainable way to manage the Villages funds.  Our savings should be used for investments in durable items and long term projects, rather than compensate for a lack of spending discipline. In order to safeguard this reserve as much as possible, we undertook the following actions.

The initial budget gap for 2018-19 was well over $300,000.  Careful analysis and budget trimming enabled us to cut that number in half. The Village has several large initiatives underway which require full funding on our part, or in most cases, partial funding to cover our required contribution toward a grant-funded project. These initiatives include:  shade tree planting, pruning and removal, LED Streetlight conversion, a large sewer infrastructure project, continued revitalization of the Route 11 corridor, revamping the recreation department, safety netting at Griggs Field and a new building at the pit among several others. Given the deficit, we put several projects on the back burner for now, and will address them in the coming years as funding allows.

Mothballing projects did lower the deficit but not to a degree to hold the line to a marginal property tax increase. As a consequence, I asked each department head to provide a prospective budget with 10% cuts in equipment and overhead, detailing any potential impact on Village citizens. This type of request is never easy. We are very lucky to have an amazing group of hard working employees who routinely go the extra mile for residents, and are at the core of what makes the Village of Homer such a fantastic place to live.  When I became mayor, I was not surprise to discover many Village employees work second jobs to make ends meet.  Although we compensated for low wages by granting a 2% cost of living increase, we were still able to reduce department budgets by 10% with minimal impact to the services provided by the village.

All these cost-saving measures did help with our deficit but what could provide a long-term remedy is a multi-faceted, multi-year capital investment and operating plan. Right now, all budgeting is done on a reactionary basis, rather than allowing us to plan proactively.  For instance, if your refrigerator has 3 more years of life, planning for that eventuality allows you to budget and save for a new one. A far better scenario then scrambling to find a way to pay for a new one when the old one fails. Accordingly, this year we will do a full scale asset audit and prepare a five-year plan. 

In closing, I would like to give thanks to my department heads for working with me to help reach a balanced budget.  I would also like to give special thanks to my Board of Trustees: Kevin Slack, Pat Clune, Ed Finkbeiner and Tim Daley. Working with a Board of Trustees who are unified and in sync allows us to avoid gridlock and achieve results.  While we may not always agree on every issue, we are able to discuss things in a friendly way and achieve compromise without conflict.  It is the dedication and openness of these trustees that will allow this Village to move ahead on so many important projects.

Thank you for your understanding as we move forward,

Mayor Hal McCabe
Village of Homer Trustees: Clune, Daley, Finkbeiner and Slack