The Village of Baxter Estates approved a budget of $802,119 for 2018-19 during the Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday, a $90,000 decrease from last year’s budget.
Trustee Chris Ficalora said the main reason for the drop in expenses was the ending of the Baxter House saga.
“The primary cause is the expenditures related to the Baxter House and the legal expenses of the resident at 15 Shore Road,” he said.
Various expenses related to the Baxter House cost the Buildings Department $83,000. Expenses were down to $5,000 for the adopted 2018-19 budget.
The Baxter House was a 200-year-old home and the village’s namesake. The building had greatly deteriorated by the beginning of 2017 and the village was trying to work with owner Sabrina Wu to come up with a plan for renovation. Those plans were thwarted by a fire in February 2017 and the house was demolished last October to the displeasure of many local residents.
The village is also temporarily ending leaf removal, a move that allowed the village to save almost $32,000. Ficalora said part of the reason it was so expensive was that other villages were dumping their leaves in Baxter Estates to be collected.
“We’re going to try it for a year and see how it works,” he said.
There were slight increases in spending for personnel and contracts for the Fire Department and snow removal.
With the budget out of the way, the village turned its attention to the village code and contracts. Baxter Estates received only one response to its street sweeping bid, which Mayor Nora Haagneson said was due to the village’s small size.
“We have fewer people who want to do this and they don’t respond,” she said.
Ficalora suggested the village could purchase its own street sweeper, but backed down after learning that such a piece of equipment could cost $250,000.
The board also approved a plan that requires residents to put down a deposit of at least $250 to remove a tree. This can be refunded if another tree is planted in its place. That amount could be higher, depending on the size of the tree, and is up to the discretion of the village’s tree commission.
Residents who receive a permit from the village have 90 days to remove the tree and a year to replant. The money would go into the village’s Re-LEAF fund, which pays for the planting of trees and beautifying of Baxter Estates.