The state-mandated property tax cap, coupled with unfunded mandates, is making it extremely difficult for municipalities to address the needs of their communities, Kenmore Mayor Patrick Mang said Tuesday night, in presenting a budget that calls for a 2.5 percent increase in residential property taxes.
Mang delivered his budget message during a public hearing on the proposed 2013-14 budget, which totals almost $16.4 million. There was no comment from the audience in council chambers, occupied primarily by department heads, before the Village Board voted unanimously for adoption.
The homestead tax rate will increase by 68 cents, from $27.24 to $27.92 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. For the average property assessed at $50,000, the annual increase would be $38.
Non-homestead tax rates are increasing by $1.78, to $48.96 per $1,000.
While the mayor’s address repeated many of the points he raised last year, he noted that the State Comptroller’s Office had recently reported that infrastructure statewide is in desperate need of repair but that the tax cap is preventing municipalities from addressing the issue.
“It’s interesting that even the state comptroller is aware that the tax cap is making it extremely difficult for municipalities to address the needs of their communities. This is certainly true in Kenmore,” Mang said.
“As you know, Kenmore is way ahead of other municipalities in Erie County when it comes to full reconstruction projects of our infrastructure, having spent over $17 million in the last 20 years,” Mang said.
The last reconstruction project was Lincoln Boulevard.
“In order to keep the tax rate as low as possible, we will not be able to address major repairs and replacements to our roads, facilities and infrastructure,” Mang said, although there is money to maintain roads, address water main breaks and continue the village’s tree-planting program.
Some sidewalks will be replaced, using Community Development funds, in areas where those funds may be spent, Mang said. And the budget will cover the cost of repaving Allegany, Hiler and Hoover avenues, as well as Delwood and Kenwood roads.
With the exception of increases in spending for gasoline, departmental spending held the line for the 12th year in a row, the mayor said. And it’s the 26th consecutive year without salary increases for elected officials.
“I hope you’ll agree than an additional $38 is well worth the cost to maintain our first-rate police force, fire department and excellent street maintenance services,” Mang said Tuesday, as he did in 2012.