The Village of Camillus will ring in the New Year with financial uncertainty.
Mayor-elect Patricia Butler says it will be a daunting task to keep the village afloat, but one she looks forward to tackling head-on.
A special session of the village board slated for Sunday will usher in a new era of politics. Among other positions in the village, Butler will fill two vacant trustee seats so they can start working on Tuesday, January 3rd -- the first official day of business in the New Year.
To fill one of those seats, Butler will accept the resignation of outgoing trustee Anthony Komuda -- who's calling it quits despite being re-elected in November following eight years of service on the board.
"Financially, I don't think (the village) is going to survive many more years."
Komuda, who has lived in the village for more than four decades, said it's time for the village to dissolve into the town of Camillus in order to save folks from heavy tax increases.
But in November, taxpayers overwhelmingly voted against dissolution. When that happened, Komuda said it was time to leave.
"I wasn't elected to raise taxes," he said. "I didn't run on that platform."
Komuda said it's inevitable that taxes will be raised tremendously going forward, especially to help pay for badly needed repairs to village roads.
But taxes are not going up in the New Year according to outgoing interim-mayor Bridget Yule.
Yule said she also allocated more than $100,000 from the village's fund balance, or saving's account, to repair roads, leaving that account with roughly $100,000. Yule said she's taken a lot of heat for that decision, but said she made that decision as taxpayers were deciding whether to dissolve the village into the town. If that had happened, she said, the more than $200,000 earmarked for the village would have disappeared.
Going forward, Butler admits the village's financial state is uncertain -- and tax hike are inevitable.
"Hopefully they won't be raised leaps and bounds," she said.
And she's leaving the door open for dissolution -- saying that option will always be on the table during her four years in office. She said the village board could take it up for a vote at any point if the village's finances are in trouble.
But dissolving the village into the town right now is premature, she said
"The next year or two as we continue to move forward financially across the nation will help to determine whether we can really continue to stay viable."
And staying viable will hopefully include more input from village residents, she said.
It's why Butler will hold two village board meetings a month instead of one, in an effort to be transparent.
"My office door will always be open," she said.