Additional revenues posted to West Seneca’s tentative 2014 budget have reduced the projected tax rate increase from 11 cents to just a penny.
A slightly revised spending plan was reviewed Thursday night at the Senior Center, during the first of two public hearings scheduled before the Nov. 20 deadline for adoption. The second hearing will begin at 6 p.m. Nov. 12 at the same location.
Spending still totals $34.89 million, but since the tentative budget was presented Sept. 30, town officials learned there will be additional revenues from state aid and from the West Seneca School District.
As a result, the property tax rate, for the combined general and highway funds, would increase by one cent, or 0.05 percent, to $17.45 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.
“Nobody likes taxes, but I think the supervisor (Sheila M. Meegan), and her budget this year, has really tried to hold the line on the taxes,” said Finance Director Laura Landers, who gave a brief presentation Thursday night.
Out of an audience of perhaps a dozen people, excluding department heads, there were three questions and one comment about the budget.
Two of the questions related to how expenditures were categorized.
The third question was about the thousands of dollars budgeted for telephone service at the Historical Society and Museum, as well as the Burchfield Nature & Art Center, where some municipal offices are housed. Town officials said those costs include Internet, telephone and the security system.
Saying she’s already paying almost $10,000 a year in taxes on her home, one resident criticized a tax increase of any size. “I find that any hike right now is moving people out,” she said, adding that she probably would have to sell her home when she retires.
Meanwhile, Councilmen Eugene P. Hart and John M. Rusinski found little fault with the supervisor’s proposed budget.
“At this point in time, I think that we are probably at the lowest tax rate we are going to get this year,” said Hart.
For the next year, he asked department heads that “every effort be made to save even the smallest amounts. Budgets, going forward, are going to get tougher.”
Rusinski said: “I also feel there’s not much room to move on the budget.”
But he noted that on the issue of energy savings, the town wasn’t saving as much on gas costs as on electricity.
“Other than that, I think we’re very good,” Rusinski said.