Cheektowaga officials were wrong when they announced the average annual property tax bill would drop by about 85 cents in the tentative 2014 budget.
The actual reduction is more like $8.32.
Brian Krause, the town’s director of administration and finance, delivered the news during a public hearing Tuesday about what is now the preliminary budget. But the 5:30 p.m. hearing was sparsely attended and produced no questions or comments from the audience.
Krause said he didn’t have complete assessment figures in hand at the time Town Supervisor Mary F. Holtz released the tentative budget earlier this month. Those numbers are up slightly, as is the town’s revenue from mortgage taxes.
“That’s one of the reasons why this number is quite a bit better than a dollar,” Krause said. “We’re very pleased with that.”
Appropriations still total approximately $86.75 million – the same as the current spending plan. The tax levy, at approximately $64 million, is down about $236,000.
Annual taxes for the town’s benefit basis budget – which includes special districts – is down an average of $4.11, while the reduction in ad-valorem taxes, based on assessed value, are $4.21.
They combine for a town tax bill of $1,647.31 in 2014 for the average property assessed at $61,000. The average bill in 2013 was $1,655.63.
Reductions in the town’s workforce, through attrition, will save $354,000 in salaries alone, Krause noted. Since 2008, the town has reduced its full-time payroll from 470 people to the 444 planned for 2014, he added.
On the other hand, that reduction is somewhat offset by increases related to the police contract settlement, as well as other union contract step increases, totaling $182,000. And the pending increase in the state’s minimum wage, from $7.25 to $8 an hour, translates to an $118,000 increase for part-time pay.
“We do rely on part-timers in a lot of instances,” Krause said, as Town Board members noted recreation, parks and senior services.
Though the Town Board has until Nov. 20 to adopt a budget for next year, members are expected to vote on it during Monday’s meeting.