Town Supervisor Ed Lavigne (above) was one of three councilpersons to vote in favor of opting out of the retail sale and onsite consumption of cannabis in the town on Dec. 15. The resolution to opt out passed 3–2.

The Lansing Town Board received the 2023 tentative annual town budget at a focused meeting on Oct. 5. Currently the budget calls for a three-percent increase in the tax rate, which can change based on modifications.

At the meeting, Town Supervisor Edward LaVigne explained had the board not removed equipment purchases from the taxpayer funded portion of the budget the rate would be 6.25%.

“There’s a lot of flexibility, a lot of movement here,” LaVigne explained. He encouraged board members to reach out to department heads and bookkeepers with any questions.

“The rate has gone up 10% in five years,” LaVigne said. “I’m not going to toot my own horn; I’ll let the numbers speak for themselves, but I also understand that assessments are going up.”

Discussing the increases in costs, Councilman Joe Wetmore noted the increases in energy and pavement. “I’ve seen those bills and they are not pretty,” Wetmore said.

Town Bookkeeper Mary Ellen Albrecht joined the meeting to help address preliminary questions.

“The next step in the budget process is to make any revisions and to set a public hearing giving you sufficient time to meet the deadline of adopting the budget,” Town Attorney Guy Krogh told members.

The public hearing for the town budget is currently targeted for Wednesday, Nov. 9. The next regular Town Board meeting is scheduled for Oct. 19.

At the Oct. 5 meeting, the board also discussed how some expenses are being met with funds received under the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The town’s total allocation of ARPA is $819,000 over several years.

“I’m concerned about how we plan out the ARPA money,” said Wetmore. “We’re starting to run up to deadlines.” He questioned whether the town has a long-range plan of how the money will be spent.

Wetmore also raised the issue around consequences of going over the tax cap. Krogh explained that going over the tax cap impacts the calculation of what the tax cap is in the following year. He offered to research any penalties involved in going over the cap.

The Town Board also passed a resolution appointing Gregg Travis to the Board of Ethics, filling the remaining term of Jay Franklin. In 2021, the town enacted the Town of Lansing Ethics Law, which established a five-member Board of Ethics. The Board of Ethics recommended that Travis be appointed.

In the discussion around the resolution, Wetmore asked who the other applying candidate was. “We’re the ones who actually do the appointment,” he said. “It’s up to us to actually make the decision.” 

Councilwoman Bronwyn Losey noted, in the case of the Board of Ethics, no one on the board is involved so the candidates are unknown. “In every other case, one of us is on the committee or is a liaison to the committee,” Losey said. She suggested separating the issue and getting clarity on the process of transparency for candidates from a working committee at a later date.

A Lansing resident and Professional Engineer, Travis has served on town boards before, including the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals.

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