If no changes are made to the proposed Town of Evans budget as it stands, a tax rate increase could be coming.
“Right now, the supervisors budget shows that there is no tax increase in the highway fund, and there is a 10-cent per $1,000 increase in the general fund,” Supervisor Keith Dash said at the Oct. 17 meeting of the Evans Town Board. “And the reason there is a small increase is because although we did across the board cuts, we have certain rising costs that we have to keep in line with, including oil, gasoline, asphalt and also New York State retirement, which continues to increase. And really, those things are out of the town board’s hands – we have no control over that.”
The increase could also have been higher, Dash added.
“Could it have been higher? Sure, it could have been higher, but I have to say the department heads took the task to make cuts seriously and it was very easy because they were very willing to work with me, so that we don’t compromise service or lay personnel off. A lot of department heads commented to me that this is one of the fairest budgets they’ve ever seen,” Dash said.
Part of the reason for any increase is in large part to the town’s ongoing water project.
“We need to think outside the box in order to closer this budget gap,” Dash said. “We have a big hole here and we have it for the long term. As you heard tonight, we’re going to have to go for a Bond Anticipation Note, for five years before we have to go to long term financing. Now, why are we doing that? Well, the water project is not done and the money is gone because those funds were co-mingled and spent through the general fund, and therein lies the mistake. It was mismanagement and bad bookkeeping to be completely honest.”
“Come hell or high water we are going to close the gap and correct the mistakes of the past. We are going to make sure that we have a budget that is not aggressive, that meets the revenues and meets the expenditures, but which is also balanced. We’re looking to save money across the board in this town, and it’s my job to watch the purse strings. We’ve got to balance the budget. It’s just like home – you don’t spend more than you bring in, because when you start, you have a problem,” Dash said.
The current preliminary budget has been filed in the town clerk’s office and copies will be available to the public for $15 per copy. The budget will also be available on the town’s website.
“Pending any input and comments we receive from the public at the upcoming public hearing, there really shouldn’t be a lot of changes when the budget is finalized,” Dash said. “I welcome the public’s input on this budget, I really do.”
The public will get their chance to make their questions, comments, and concerns known regarding the preliminary budget at a public hearing to be held on Nov. 7 at 7:20 p.m.
In other board news:
• Halloween hours in the Town of Evans were set at 6 to 8 p.m on Wednesday, Oct. 31.
• A public hearing regarding fire protection for the Angola Fire Protective District will be held on Nov. 7 at 7:10 p.m.
• The town set its priority list for the upcoming Community Development Block Grant request:
Tip priority, Kennedy Avenue Greenway Streetscape Project (Phase II), Second, South Creek/John K. Thompson Pool ADA improvements and third, Rural Transit Services.
• A Revenue Anticipation Notice was approved in an amount of $1,100,000 in anticipation of revenues other than real property taxes or assessments due.
The meeting was adjourned in memoriam of Brett Farrell.