Niagara Gazette

October 23, 2013

Budget hearing scheduled in Wheatfield

By Mark Scheer
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — TOWN OF WHEATFIELD - Residents will get their chance to comment on the town's preliminary 2014 budget during a hearing early next month.

Earlier this week, members of the town board made some minor adjustments to Supervisor Robert Cliffe's tentative spending plan before setting a public hearing date on the proposal for 7 p.m., Nov. 6, at town hall, 2800 Church Road. 

The spending plan calls for an overall reduction in town taxes and would abolish the highway tax, an effort town officials have been working on for several years. Spending is expected to rise by about $400,000, from $12.05 million in 2013 to $12.45 million next year. 

Minor changes authorized by the town board on Tuesday trimmed spending in the general fund by $9,797 and cut another $20,243 out of the sewer fund, while reducing revenue estimates by a total of $9,797. The moves would result in the tax levy being lowered in 2014 by $176,432, or 4.83 percent. 

The final numbers were not immediately available Tuesday, but it is expected the owner of a home assessed at $125,000 would save around $30 in town taxes next year if the revised budget is adopted by the town board next month. 

Cliffe said the spending plan as it stands now meets the town's needs amid rising costs. 

"It's basically maintaining of the services we've had," Cliffe said. 

The preliminary budget reflecting this week's adjustments is expected to be made available to the town board and for review by the general public next week. Cliffe said the town has until midnight on Nov. 20 to adopt a final 2014 budget, otherwise the numbers contained in the the preliminary budget would stand for next year. He said the board may adopt the budget following the public hearing on Nov. 6, although he said the preliminary spending plan is still subject to change based on any sound recommendations made by either town officials or residents in the coming days. 

"If anybody has any ideas for changes, we could do it," Cliffe said.