The Town of Elma received good news this week: Its share of the Erie County sales tax will be more than previously expected.
This encouraged the Town Board to use a portion of the projected windfall to lower tax rates for some of the special districts, such as the highway and lighting districts.
Supervisor Dennis Powers said the new figures were not final, and he had to review them before releasing them to the media. His tentative budget had projected $1.2 million from sales tax.
Councilman Michael Nolan suggested some of the new money could go toward the highway budget to keep the tax rate the same as this year. Under the supervisor’s proposed budget, the highway tax rate would climb 5 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation. Nolan also wanted to add money to the lighting district fund balance to bring that tax rate, projected now at 56 cents per $1,000, down 4 cents.
Some councilmen wanted to put some of the extra money into the highway budget to pave additional roads.
Powers said he needed more time to crunch the numbers to see what was possible.
The biggest change in the tentative budget is the elimination of the extra 2 percent raise for 11 employees. That would have been on top of the 3 percent raise for nonunion workers, to be capped at 50 cents per hour or $1,040.
Town Board members united against Powers’ plan to give workers the extra, one-time-only raise, claiming it was unfair to other workers.
There will be a public hearing on the budget plan at 7 p.m. Nov. 7 before the regular Town Board meeting.
Also during this week’s Town Board meeting, board members:
• Decided that the installation of a wheelchair lift at the Senior Citizens Center should be given first priority in the town’s request for Community Development Block Grant money, with a rural transit van as a second possible item.
• Renewed an agreement to share an assessor with West Seneca, at an estimated annual savings of $40,000 in salary, benefits, health care costs, payroll taxes and retirement contributions.
• Heard a request from Stoneridge Lane residents to get better lighting on their lane, off Rice Road. The board approved an application to be sent to the county for the study, at no cost to the town. Residents complained that teenagers are using Stoneridge Lane for drag races at night on weekends.