The average Cheektowaga property owner will see his or her town tax bill increase by about $3 under the 2013 town budget formally adopted Monday by a 5-1 vote of the Town Board.
The fact it’s going up at all, however, is roiling the board’s lone Republican member.
Freshman Councilwoman Angela M. Wozniak called out the otherwise Democratic Town Board for rejecting her motion to appropriate about $129,000 from a town fund balance kitty of nearly $20 million in order to balance next year’s $86.8 million town budget without a tax increase.
“We could have found the money to close this gap. We’re raising taxes, and it’s not responsible,” Wozniak told the board.
Instead, the board, citing the potential for unforeseen expenses arising next year, decided to proceed with a 0.18 percent tax increase that will see the average town tax bill go up $3 to $1,655.63 on an average home assessed at $61,000.
“It’s what the board feels comfortable with, with coming future expenses,” said Stanley J. Kaznowski III, deputy supervisor, who explained that “the uncertainty of expenses” to arise in 2013 – namely contracts with the three town police unions – necessitated the slight increase.
It’s a bump that Ted Morton, who ran unsuccessfully last fall against Supervisor Mary F. Holtz, and at least one other town resident took exception to Monday.
Morton, in a statement before the vote took place, suggested the Town Board was holding way too much of taxpayers’ money and demanded not just a break-even tax rate for 2013, but a reduction. Morton suggested the board was stockpiling the money to reduce taxes in town election years like 2011.
In other news, Holtz said as many as 800 new garbage totes will begin to be delivered every day to town properties over the next six to eight weeks, beginning Wednesday. The totes will be put into use in Cheektowaga on Dec. 17.