Niagara Gazette

Local News

November 19, 2012

Lewiston budget is a go

Niagara Gazette — LEWISTON — The Town Board approved its $16.6 million spending plan for 2013 Monday evening.

What it refused to approve is overriding New York state's 2 percent tax cap for the second consecutive year.

"We started off in September with a $17.9 million budget request," Town Finance Director Michael Johnson said. "With the help of the board and the department heads, we were able to get it down to $16.6 million."

Though the board didn't vote to exceed the cap, the margin of error in Johnson's calculations is minimal. According to 2012 actual tax charges, the town levied $2,397,652 this current year. The cap, therefore would be set at $2,445,605 in 2013.

The town is charging, according to the adopted plan, $2,445,333, a difference of $272. And this figure is without a town-wide tax or highway tax, items many surrounding towns charge their residents, Johnson said.

The budget adopted Monday is slightly different than the one originally proposed in October. Slightly less that $100,000 has been added to the spending after the town received actual bills for some of the services officials had been estimating until Monday.

Johnson said the town will be paying less than they'd anticipated in state retirement costs, while worker's compensation – originally estimated to be a $350,000 charge – will be more.

Other changes, according to Johnson, include reducing the master sewer's tax rate from $105 this year to $35 in 2013, reducing the town's insurance premium and experiencing higher-than-expected sales tax figures for 2012.

But not everything is rosy in the town, he warned.

"The next three to five years are going to be a different story," Johnson said. "The board is already out looking for other revenues. And this budget is based on getting a bond to allow for road construction we've promised the highway superintendent. We'll be starting to look at that in January."

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