Niagara Gazette

Local News

November 7, 2013

Lewiston officials hope reserves will stave off townwide tax as budget work continues


Niagara Gazette —

"This is as trim as we can get on this budget," he said. "And I would be very, very concerned for (2015, 2016 and 2017) because we've been fighting for no townwide tax for all this time. But the fund balances are dwindling down and we keep using them to try to offset a tax, so it's time for the board to sit down and try to find some new revenues."

Much of the budget's increase comes from circumstances beyond the town's control, Johnson said. Increasing almost $1 million from 2013 is the payments the town owes both the state and police retirement systems.

There's also an additional $100,000 set aside for worker's compensation, which is organized by the county.

"I've been working real close with the county on that to see who's on it, who's not on it, whether some people have been taken off that and hopefully, we're in a pool there, we talked about possibly trying to do something different," Johnson said. "But there's no way you can get that rate if we tried to do it on our own."

Though there's no townwide tax, there are areas of the town where residents are being charged. Special districts for water and sewers and fire protection have been set up and are widely funded by tax dollars. If the current plan is adopted, about $2.5 million would be raised in taxes to cover various activities, from fire fighting to garbage collection.

Much of the discussion from the public during the comment period focused on the status of the the town's legal fight against the proposed expansion of Chemical Waste Management. The town promised the creation of an environmental protection fund and "at least half" of the annually budgeted outside lawyer counsel amount as its dollar figure.

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Do you think cigarette sales to non-Native American customers should be taxed on reservations?

Yes. Items should be taxed like they are everywhere else.
No, the indian reservations are sovereign land and they are selling them on their land.
Not up to me. Native Americans decide the rules on their land.
Don't care. Smoking isn't good for you.
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