LANCASTER- Calling it a “fiscally responsible budget,” Lancaster Supervisor Dino Fudoli presented the 2013 tentative budget Monday night, which has a total spending plan of $30, 653,420, an increase of 1.53 percent compared to this year.
Even though, the town is facing increased costs that amount more than $800,000 due to employee pension’s contributions and debt service, which includes the new police and court headquarters, the proposed budget reduces the tax levy for the first time in 13 years.
“The taxpayers voiced many concerns as I assumed this office, but above all, their message was firm that our taxes must be reduced,” said Fudoli.
The amount of money that the town will use from the fund balance is $1,053,985 and the debt reserve $350,000, totaling $1.4 million. The amount to be raised by taxation is $20,589,770.
Fudoli said it was important that all town services be retained, but to cut costs he has eliminated the funding for the New York City trip that town board members and department heads attend on an annual basis.
“I have proposed responsible cuts and suggest that it is time that our government tightens the belt, as private citizens have done for years,” remarked Fudoli.
The budget reduces the total levy by approximately $200,000 or one percent. Town board officials will not receive a raise and town employee salaries are budgeted without raises. The town is currently in discussions with the four unions to negotiate contracts, whose contracts expired at the end of 2011.
“I am confident we can reach agreements that will allow for raises in the future while further cutting overall costs to taxpayers,” said Fudoli.
Also, with the town in the process of negotiating the sale of the former Colecraft Building, the sale will further decrease the town’s borrowing costs, and decrease the levy even more.
Fudoli has also taken the step to eliminate long-term, unfilled staff positions. The town currently funds unfilled positions and he has proposed eliminating one position that has remained unfilled after two years.
“Also, I believe it is imperative that we attempt to reduce the size of our workforce through attrition,” said Fudoli. “We will study options as employment situations arise including whether the position is necessary as well as whether it can be filled on a part-time basis.”
Lastly, the town is currently negotiating some other contractual agreements with town/village sharing agreements that could lead to further levy reduction, said Fudoli.
Below are examples of what a homeowner could see on their tax bill if their home is assessed at $100,000:
• Town outside of villages: A single family residential home assessed at $100,000 would see a decrease of $17.49, or 1.82 percent in their annual town tax bill. From $962.15 in 2012 to $944.66 in next year’s budget.
• Village of Depew: For a home assessed at $100,000, the tax bill would increase by $6 or 2.56 percent, from $234 to $240 in 2013.
• Village of Lancaster: A single family residential assessed at $100,000 would see a decrease of $14.49 in their annual town tax bill, a 2.47 percent decrease, from $587.15 to $572.66.
“The proposed budget does not include any gimmicks, such as depleting existing fund balances. By adopting a fiscally responsible budget, we set the stage for future town boards and supervisors,” said Fudoli.
In other town news:
• Trick or treating in the town will be held from 6 to 8:30 Wednesday, Oct. 31.
• The town has been given a gift in the amount of $50,000 from the estate of Mary Lucariello to be used to establish a yearly scholarship in Lucariello’s name. The scholarship will be awarded to a deserving member of the senior class at Lancaster High School who will be receiving post high school educational studies and displays a great deal of effort, hard work, and improvement during his/her high school education. The board accepted the gift and authorized the executive director of the youth bureau to utilize the funds to establish the scholarship.
• The town board awarded the bid for the 2012 culvert replacements and structure repairs to CATCO Construction, 1266 Town Line Road, in Alden, in the amount of $569,852.54.
The next Town of Lancaster Board meeting will be held at 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15, in the town hall, 21 Central Ave., Lancaster.