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Village of Farnham taxes remain level for 2014-15

FARNHAM — For yet another year, residents of the village of Farnham will not see a tax increase as the Farnham Village Board officially adopted its new, flat budget, following a public budget hearing.

“There is no increase in taxes, once again,” Mayor Julie Gibbons said. “We are at a general fund appropriation of $15,647.88 to balance the budget. Last year, we were at $13,727.42, so we are remaining pretty close. Over the past four or five years, we have been anywhere from $11,000-$16,000 in general fund appropriations, and every year, we end up with a surplus.”

The adopted budget includes a 2 percent pay increase across the board for the village clerk and Department of Public Works.

While there was a pay increase in DPW full-time, there was no increase in health insurance, as was requested. The DPW contractual line also saw an increase and Gibbons said that the board will be monitoring the spending out of this account more closely, due to it being over budget this past year.

“For DPW full time, we had a request for a $2,078 increase annually, which works out to be a $1 an hour, plus an increase of $200 in medical insurance stipend,” Gibbons said, during a budget workshop.

“Last year, DPW FT received a 1.5 percent increase and has at least a 3 percent increase every year since he has worked here – almost every year. We are now at the point that, if we continue increasing one individual’s salary over $1,000 every year, we are going to come to a point where we can’t do it anymore.

“I’m asking to increase DPW contractual to $10,000, and am also going to ask we have more regulation on spending,” she added.

“We should have some type of system that shows anticipated expenses, per month. I find it hard to believe that we are spending $10,000, but fuel costs are high.”

A question was asked by an audience member about whether Veterans Park had its own individual line in the budget. Gibbons responded that it did not, but said that if work needed to be done there, funds would be available.

“No one ever seemed to find out what exactly happened with the funds that were earmarked and set aside for the Veterans Park,” she explained.

“It was before my time. But we have increased the Village Park line item to $2,000 this year, so if we have any work that needs to be done at the Veterans Park, we’d have funds available.

“I was hoping to decrease taxes this year,” Gibbons said. “The village of Farnham, of the 16 villages in Erie County, we have the highest tax rate.”

The next village of Farnham meeting is scheduled to take place at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 20.
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