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Village of Hamburg residents to face a 2.52 percent tax increase

Continuing the general, progressive trend of marginally increasing tax rates within the Village of Hamburg, officials presented a budget layout for 2013-14 that contains slight expenditure and levy hikes at Monday’s (March 18) meeting.

Village Clerk Administrator Donald Witkowski, who also serves as the village’s budget director, described the fiscal plan, which includes a tax rate of $19.49 per $1,000 of assessed property value and represents a 2.52 percent increase from the 2012-13 rate of $19.01. The 2013-14 rate also symbolizes a hike of $48 per home assessed at $100,000. The overall, tentative tax levy established by village officials is slated at $6.3 million, which Witkowski noted is $452 less than the mandated tax cap levy limit of $6,337,127.

Overall budget expenditures for 2013-14 are slated to be $9,302,617, compared to the 2012-13 amount of $8.8 million. A major reason for this increase was a $331,079 hike in employee benefits, as the uncontrolled budgetary item is noted to account for 29.66 percent of the village’s general fund appropriations.

Other portions of general fund appropriations are divided by public health and safety, at 18.72 percent; general government support, 17.74 percent; transportation, 12.06 percent; debt service, 7.35 percent; culture and recreation, 6.60 percent; home and community service, 4.92 percent; and inter-fund transfers, 2.94 percent.

The budget’s fiscal year covers June 1 through May 31, 2014. It was further stated by Witkowski that village-contributed payments toward the New York State Pension Fund have jumped from $544,617 in 2011-12 to a projected $767,573 in 2013-14, representing nearly a 20-percent increase. Further budget initiatives include water line replacement and road repairs positioned in year three of a bond initiative.

Tax hikes over the last decade in the village have included smallincreases from the rate of $12.38 set in 2003-04. Since that time, tax rates per $1,000 of assessed property value have incrementally risen to $12.75 in 2004-05; $13.75 in 2005-06; $14.84 in 2006-07; $16.16 in 2007-08; $17.05 in 2008-09; $17.48 in 2009-10; $17.81 in 2010-11; and $18.52 in 2011-12. Hamburg Village Mayor Thomas J. Moses Sr. said village officials have worked tirelessly to construct a budget that keeps a tight belt on spending, while softening the impact of uncontrolled rises in insurance and benefit costs.

“I want to thank the entire board and department heads for working really hard on keeping taxes down and (maintaining) services for (residents),” said Moses. “We get bang for our buck for what we do. We rolled up our sleeves on a bunch of Saturday (budget workshops) and made some tough decisions…The community can be pleased with what is moving forward with our budget.”

Additional budgetary amounts include a projected $2.5 million in revenues other than real property taxes. Fund balance reserve monies were said to be increased by $76,000 for 2013-14.

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