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In a second discussion of the upcoming budget, Village of Lansing Trustees found themselves in the enviable position of lowering taxes.  Mayor Donald Hartill told the Trustees that the Village will lower the tax rate from $1.59 per thousand dollars of assessed value to $1.40.  And he says taxes may go still lower.  "I think that we may need to lower the tax rate again last year by a small amount," Hartill said.  "Or it may be that inflation next year will adjust that for us.  Once we're in that stable mode, then we can go with inflation.  So it's a nice position to be in."

The Mayor explained that the lower taxes are a result of adjusting to a normal state after the $6 million Triphammer Road reconstruction project.  "It's a nice feature that we did not have to borrow any money to rebuild Triphammer Road and the other things that were done," he said.  "But it's now time to get things back to their normal track."

Trustee Frank Moore expressed concern that about $400,000 of appropriated money was not spent, but put aside in a capital fund.  "It strikes me as curious that we can't identify budget expenditures within $400,000," he said, noting that represents about 25% of the budget.

But the Mayor said that is has to do with being fiscally conservative.  "It's the result of being conservative over the past ten years," he said.  "It's been anticipating a large expense which turned out to be not as much as we anticipated, which is all to the good.  Rather than go into something and spend a lot more, this is a much better outcome."

Hartill noted that part of the unspent money has to do with the local share of Triphammer Road turning out to be less than expected.  We expected to do a little bit more in highway construction.  "If you decide you're going to do something and you don't do it, those are the kind of funds that get transferred, he explained.

The Village plans smaller projects, including one on Dart Drive and another on Northwood Drive.  Hartill says the project is likely to cost about $400,000, and while the current width of the road will remain the same to discourage untoward traffic, the project will include a sidewalk on one side, and a system of curbing similar to that on Triphammer Road.

But Hartill said that construction projects like these get the Village back to the normal cycle of maintenance and reconstruction projects, which should stabilize Village property taxes at the lower rate.  "We're getting back our equilibrium," he said.  "We've just gone through a six million dollar construction project, which we did without bonding.  I think that's a major accomplishment."

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