by Timothy Chipp
Niagara Gazette — LEWISTON — Taxes in the village may not be going up or down if a tentative budget proposal remains unchanged heading into next month.
Mayor Terry Collesano revealed the village's primary operating proposal for 2013-14 — which would go into effect May 1 if approved by the five-member village board — at Monday's board meeting.
The village tax rate, under the tentative budget, would remain at $7.12 per $1,000 assessed value, financing the village's $3.3 million spending plan.
"This includes 3 percent pay increases for our employees," Collesano said.
But while the village's tentative plan remains about the same, there could be a major change to another item residents pay fees for.
In going through the numbers during discussions with the Lewiston Town Board to possibly consolidate water services, Collesano said there could be some substantial savings to residents they didn't know about.
Though the two boards eventually decided not to consolidate services, Collesano said starting in July, residents will see lower bills, including the elimination of a $5 surcharge everyone was paying.
"We figured out about 70 percent of residents would face an increase in water bills (merging with the town)," he said. "In crunching the numbers, we found out we can reduce our water rates. So residents can expect to see that decrease soon."
Any change to the rates would require a public hearing before effective. A good time for it may be in April, when the village holds its annual hearing for its budget. This year's hearing is scheduled for Monday, April 1, during its scheduled work session.
Following the scheduled hearing, the board would be expected to vote on the budget at its next meeting, which is expected to be Monday, April 15.
Both meetings will be held at village hall, 145 N. Fourth St., Lewiston.
In other village news, the Lewiston Village Board drafted and approved a resolution supporting Robert Moses Parkway alternative three, recently revealed as one of three alternatives New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is considering for the future of the north section of the byway running between Main Street in Niagara Falls and Center Street in Lewiston.
Alternative three is believed to be the most expensive of the three choices presented by state officials at a meeting last month, with a total price tag of $52 million. But it leaves large portions of the parkway intact between Findlay Drive in the city and Center Street. Between Main Street and Findlay Drive would be removed in favor of redesigning Whirlpool Street.
The Niagara County Legislature is expected to make an endorsement of the same alternative at its meeting at 7 p.m. tonight, which Lewiston Village Board members said they will carpool to from village hall to attend. The meeting will be held at 175 Hawley St., Lockport.