LEWISTON – The Town Board adopted a budget Monday of just over $16.6 million for 2013, only slightly revised from preliminary figures presented at a public hearing about two weeks ago but still within the state’s cap on annual budget increases.
The budget provides for no local property taxes for general town services, but a tax levy of about $2.4 million will be collected for special service districts such as fire protection and street lighting. The town will use more than $1.1 million of its fund balance, or “rainy day savings account,” to avoid any general town tax and to minimize special-district taxes.
Town Supervisor Steven L. Reiter and Finance Director Michael E. Johnson complimented the town’s department heads on their efforts to control next year’s spending in order to remain below the 2 percent cap on increases. The budget provides for pay increases of up to about 3 percent for most town employees, but none for the supervisor or for the four councilmen who make up the Town Board.
Johnson warned, however, that rapidly increasing costs for many items, including workers’ compensation insurance and pensions, “will make our budgets for the next three to five years much more difficult. We will have to reduce spending.”
The final budget figure for 2013 is $16,640,602 including the special districts – $55,238 more than the amount projected at the Nov. 1 public hearing, and about $1 million more than the current year’s spending plan.
With no general town tax, Lewiston gets most of its income from state and federal aid, payments in lieu of taxes from public agencies such as the New York Power Authority and the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission, fees collected from refuse disposal companies in the town, and other revenues.
In other business, Reiter announced that the Lewiston Village Board approved a donation of $5,000 toward operation of the town’s ice skating rink in Academy Park. Meeting separately earlier in the evening, the Village Board approved of the donation, according to Mayor Terry C. Collesano.
Reiter also announced that donations of food, cleaning supplies and personal health items will be collected until Nov. 27 at Town Hall, 1375 Ridge Road, “for those suffering from the effects of Hurricane Sandy.” He said the donations will be delivered Nov. 29 to a shelter in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
The Town Board also:
• Scheduled a public hearing for 5:30 p.m. Monday on proposed revisions to the town’s zoning code. The hearing will be followed by a Town Board meeting at 6 p.m.
• Scheduled a hearing at 5:45 p.m. Dec. 10 on a proposed local code to control the development of commercial wind energy. That hearing will be followed by a work session of the Town Board.
• Postponed action on a resident’s offer to buy a small tract of surplus and unused, landlocked town property at a price to be determined.