LEWISTON – A $16.5 million budget, which will provide for pay raises of up to 3 percent next year for most town employees, is on track for approval at a special meeting of the Town Board later this month.
Although the budget provides for modest raises for most employees, Supervisor Steven L. Reiter pointed out Thursday that there will be no raises for himself or for the four councilmen who make up the Town Board.
“We did not have to override the 2 percent cap on tax increases, we didn’t have to reduce any services, and we didn’t have to raise taxes in this tough economy,” Reiter said. “That’s a big relief to me.”
The pay raises are subject to continuing negotiations with labor unions representing about 50 of the town’s nearly 90 employees, the supervisor said. He said preliminary talks have gone well and he expects to reach amicable agreements with the unions.
The town has no property taxes at all for its general services, but there are taxes for special districts such as fire protection and lighting. The special district taxes are limited by the state’s 2 percent cap on annual increases, and the Town Board had intended to seek approval to exceed that cap if necessary. Board members had planed to act Thursday on the 2 percent override, but no action was taken because it was unnecessary.
No members of the public showed up for Thursday evening’s public hearing on the budget.
The Town Board is expected to approve the budget at a meeting at 6 p.m. Nov. 19 in Town Hall, 1375 Ridge Road.
The total budget for next year is nearly $16.6 million, about $1 million more than this year’s nearly $15.6 million spending plan. The supervisor’s salary will remain unchanged at $41,906, and the councilmen will continue to receive $13,856.
The highway superintendent will receive $68,135; the town clerk, $58,789, and the two town justices, $26,601.
With no tax for general town services, Lewiston’s operations are financed primarily through payments in lieu of taxes from public agencies and fees collected from refuse disposal companies in the town, along with other revenues.