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February 13, 2013
Village of Perfroming Arts
Village of Webster, center for performing arts?
Not quite yet, but keep your ears and eyes open.
At the Village Board workshop last week, the Trustees and I had the privilege of hearing from Sandy Nagar, director for the Working Class Theatre Company (WCTC). This is the group that has been putting on shows in the Veterans Memorial Park about every other year since 2006. Most recently, they presented The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) in the summer of 2011 and What’s the Capital of Boliva in November of 2012. The WCTC is a not-for profit organization. All production costs are paid for through donations and the actors work for free.
Sandy came to the Village Board with exciting news that The Working Class Theatre Company is looking to put on a new production this year called The Fantasticks. According to the overview that he presented, The Fantasticks is “an American musical theatre classic by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt. The Fantasticks opened in New York in 1960 and, still running off-Broadway today, has the honor of being the longest running musical in the world, as well as the longest running play of any kind in the Unites States.” It will be the WCTC first musical and will be produced for free in the Veterans Memorial Park July 31 to August 4.
Sandy asked if the WCTC could use the Village Meeting Hall for rehearsals. The Board enthusiastically approved. Sandy also indicated that he is discussing utilizing the outstanding stage space at the Harmony House. This makes sense since the Harmony House has hosted numerous plays, musicals, concerts and festivities over the years.
The Harmony House is the home of the Chorus of the Genesee, a group that is part of Rochester Chapter for Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America. They sing barbershop a cappella music and perform all over the Rochester area, and are a featured group at many Village events like the 9/11 ceremony. A few months back, they joined the Village Board at one of our regular meetings and attempted to teach us to sing.
At this time of the year, the Chorus of the Genesee will break into smaller quartets and perform singing Valentines. Check out their website at chorusofthegenesee.org or call them at 385-2698 for more information.
I would be remiss in not adding the Webster Village Band to this list of the Village’s performing artists. Coming off of their 35th year, the Band performs concerts in the summer at the band shell at Harmony Park off Phillips Rd and an annual Christmas Concert each December. Their membership is growing as local musicians looking for place to practice their skills and enjoy the great company of the band members.
These groups together are making our Village a performing arts destination. Stay tuned for event schedules and dates as we approach the summer season here in the Village.
If you have any questions about Village celebrations and events, please call me (anytime) at 662-9906 or email me at email@example.com
February 6, 2013
Mid-Year Budjet Review
It was 2005 and Mayor Jack Judge was determined that the public know the status of Village finances half way through the budget year. The Village budget year is from June 1 of one year through May 31 of the next, so mid-year is around the New Year. When that first mid-year report was made, Mayor Judge started a tradition which throws open the Village budget to scrutiny and allows the Board to know even more about the status of Village finances.
The budget review is a combined effort of the Clerk, Treasurer and Superintendent of Public Works, with the Treasurer leading the effort. Jamie Allman, Treasurer, started the review with Dorothea Ciccarelli describing major developments in the office and Superintendent Jake Swingly talking about the projects undertaken in sewer, water and highway.
So how is the Village doing? About half way through the budget year, you would expect about half the expenses made and roughly half the revenues collected. The Village is showing just under half of the expenses made and almost exactly half of revenue collected. Some revenues are down like our sewer fees from Xerox; however sales tax revenue is up. Money has been expended on a new phone system for the office, a new street sweeper for roads, a new SCADA control system for the sewer treatment plant, paving and gutters for various Village roads and a new water line for Commercial and Martin Streets.
Perhaps the most important update was the conclusion of a yearlong process of combining all Village short term Bond Anticipation Notes into two long term bonds. Last year, the Village applied for and received a very favorable A1 bond rating that has allowed us to get low rates for the long term bonds. Having these bonds allows the Village to budget specific, defined amounts each year and brings greater stability to the budget process.
The other positive trend the Village is seeing is in the water fund. The operational budget of the water fund is steadily improving – so much so that it is able to pay for all expenses and pay back a short term loan made from the General Fund to the Water fund. That loan was taken to replenish water reserves. As revenues are received, water is, month by month, meeting its obligations pay back the general fund (with interest).
Looking at the balance sheet, Village finances are looking good. The General fund is able to meet expenses on a tax rate that has stayed the same ($2.22/$1000) for seven years and the water fund is continuing to improve. The Village Board is constantly keeping an eye on both funds to ensure your dollars are being spent wisely.
If you have any questions about the Village budget, please call me (anytime) at 662-9906 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
January 9, 2013
Memories of 2012
Though we ended 2012 on a sad note, brighter days linger before us. This column glances backwards at the highlights of a busy 2012 as we step into the New Year.
The Board votes to purchase a new SCADA system to update the operations of the Sewer Treatment Plant. Carol Reitz is appointed as the newest member to the Historic Preservation Committee. The multi-year effort by the Parks Committee to update all signs at Village Parks is completed as the Village Board approves new signs for Milton Case Park.
At the February 9th meeting, I make a presentation regarding the 2010 Census. The Census shows, among other facts, the Village at 2.2 sq miles has 5,399 residents, and over the last decade increased population by the second highest rate in the County and had an average household size of 2.27 people. After months of discussion, the new Policy Manual of the Village of Webster is passed by the Village Board. After a petition is presented by residents of Kittelberger Park, the Board votes to install a new stop sign at the intersection of Kittelberger Park and Wishing View Drive. Nancy Ferris is appointed to the Citizens Advisory Committee.
Glenn Cook, Economic Advisor for WCCED, announces that a $60,000 grant has been awarded by the Genesee Transportation Council to conduct an Accessibility and Parking Study. The Board votes to include a “Call-In” section at the end of each meeting.
Fifteen parcels on North Avenue from the Expressway to Commercial Street are approved by the Board to be rezoned as Neighborhood Business. The Board passes the 2012-2013 General and Water Budgets. The tax rate remains at $2.22 for the seventh year.
The Board proclaimed the week of May 13-19 as Emergency Services Organization Week in the Village of Webster. An expansion of Handicap Parking in the Main Street Business district is approved by the Board. Citing a desire not to increase costs for Village residents, motions to change the water system are denied.
The Board continues to work on acquiring Robb Cemetery. The public can now view the Village Board packet online and projected on screen at each Village Board meeting.
Wilmorite Park Day is hosted by the Webster Baptist Church to celebrate the collaborative efforts by the Village, the Baptist Church and the Webster Community Chest in improving this neighborhood park. Members of the Board once again march in the Fireman’s Parade. Superintendent Swingly informs the Board that he will be able to complete additional unplanned street maintenance for the year. The Jazz Festival on Main Street is a huge success.
The Village Board passes local law number 4, Incentive Zoning. Chris Krawiec is appointed to the Planning Board and Sean Miller to the Zoning Board.
Residents of Baker Street and Salori Court meet with the Village Board to discuss concerns in that area. Jacqueline Lange is appointed to the Parks and Recreation Committee. The Village applies for and receives an excellent bond rating. Village Days, including the new October Fest, attracts many people to the Village. The anniversary of 9/11 is commemorated in the Village.
At the initiation of the Village Board and after months of waiting, the State Comptroller releases an audit of Village Government. The Neighborhood Business District Zoning is amended by the Village Board. Over two thousand people attend the Halloween in the Village event.
The Chorus of the Genesee attempts to teach the Village Board to sing. The Board approves a proclamation for the 80th anniversary of the Chamber of Commerce. With the approval of a moratorium on development off of private drives in October, the Board appoints three members to a Private Drive Committee to recommend code revisions to the Village Board. The Village receives a $22,000 grant from the New York State DEC.
White Christmas in the Village is bigger and was even more attended than ever before. Celebrating its 45th year, the Village Band plays an outstanding Christmas Concert. A huge crowd watches the lighting of the Christmas Lights at Hanks on North Ave. The Board passes a local law on temporary dumpsters. We all watch in shock and disbelief as first responders are fired upon and two are killed. The year ends on a somber note as thousands pay their respects.
I extend my thanks to everyone who worked to make 2012 such a successful year for the Village of Webster. If you want to help build on the achievements in 2012 and make an even more successful 2013, please call me (anytime) at 662-9906 or email me at email@example.com.