ADVERTISEMENT

The cost for Town of Lancaster employee pension benefits is rising higher than expected, putting a squeeze on the town budget as officials prepare a spending plan for 2013.

But Supervisor Dino J. Fudoli said in an interview that he hopes to hold the line on property taxes in the budget he will release later this month.

"My intention is to submit a budget with no increase," Fudoli said prior to Monday's Town Board meeting.

The closely anticipated town budget represents Fudoli's first chance to fulfill the promises he made during his 2011 campaign for supervisor to rein in the size and cost of Lancaster's government.

Fudoli added in the interview that the town's borrowing costs are rising "substantially" because the town took out bonds to pay for the new Police Headquarters and Town Court building now under construction.

"We're taking measures to minimize the impact on the taxpayers. I'm trying to hold my promise of not increasing spending. I'm doing my best," he said.

Fudoli's comments came after a work session, during which the supervisor laid out the schedule of this year's budget process.

Fudoli will submit his proposed budget to the board members by Sept. 30. Any changes the four Democrats on the Town Board wish to make to the Republican supervisor's proposal must be made by the Oct. 15 board meeting.

The Town Board will hold a public hearing on the budget Nov. 5 and plans to adopt the budget Nov. 19.

Fudoli told board members at the work session that while he and David J. Brown, the town's director of administration and finance, had anticipated a $200,000 increase in the town's share of its employee pension costs for 2013, that increase is expected to surpass $300,000.

The town had been paying an amount equivalent to 19 percent of its employees' salaries into a state pension fund but recently learned this required contribution will rise to 21 percent of those salaries for next year, Fudoli said at the session.

The $300,000-plus figure includes all town employees.

Fudoli also said he hopes to offset the increased borrowing for the law enforcement complex by selling the town-owned, former Colecraft building.

Also Monday, the Town Board approved the site plan for an expansion of Russell's Steaks, Chops & More, the restaurant at 6675 Transit Road.

Russell J. Salvatore plans to add 2,000 square feet to his 4,000-square-foot dining room, an expansion that would add 40 or 50 seats to the 150 seats now available, he said.

The restaurateur said that he expects the project to cost between $400,000 and $500,000. "We decided at the last minute to put a small room on," Salvatore said.

The town Planning Board previously recommended approval of the site plan. Salvatore has applied for a variance from the town's Zoning Board of Appeals, which meets Thursday, because the expansion moves the restaurant 24 feet closer to Transit Road.

Crews prematurely began pouring concrete footers for the project, and Town Building Inspector Jeffrey Simme late last week ordered the work stopped pending the necessary approvals.





email: swatson@buffnews.com



This article was updated Thursday to reflect the fact that the anticipated $300,000 increase in pension costs for the town includes all town employees. An earlier version of the article stated this increase did not include police, based on erroneous information provided at the time by the town supervisor.