LEWISTON – With little fanfare and no discussion, the Lewiston Town Board, under the direction of Deputy Supervisor Gary Catlin, on Monday unanimously adopted a $17.4 million budget for 2014 that remains under the 2 percent cap and does not increase taxes, which will remain at $16.60 for each $1,000 of assessment.
The adopted budget closely mirrors a preliminary budget presented Nov. 7, which gives all town employees a 3 percent pay increase, with the exception of the supervisor and town councilmen.
Refuse rates will remain unchanged at $70 per household, but Finance Director Michael Johnson said the cost is increasing and will have to be addressed in 2014, prior to the 2015 budget.
Catlin, who has served as deputy for the past four years under Supervisor Steven L. Reiter, took the reins last week when Reiter stepped down early, asking for an unpaid leave of absence.
Monday the board voted unanimously to return the supervisor’s town-owned truck to the Recreation Department.
Reiter, who had recently been under a cloud of controversy after an FBI investigation in June involving his use of town gasoline, lost his bid to remain next year as town supervisor when he was defeated in the September primary election by Ernest C. Palmer. Earlier this month, Palmer was defeated by a relative political newcomer, Dennis J. Brochey, who has been a Lewiston village trustee for the past year.
Reiter also faced medical issues after he received a quadruple heart bypass July 5.
He told The Buffalo News that neither the medical nor political issues were why he was leaving, but rather, “It was just a good time to get out.”
He said of the 2014 budget as he prepared to leave office last week, “There wasn’t a lot left for me to do. We have a good budget. We didn’t raise taxes. We took advantage of every opportunity to stay under the 2 percent cap. I hope they can continue the process we put in place and not raise taxes, but it is going to be tougher and tougher each year with employee benefits going up faster than our revenues.”