Taxes and Fees
This Monday evening the Lancaster Town Board will vote on the revised preliminary town budget and the Special Districts budget. The Special Districts budget is the same as was proposed in the tentative budget. The town budget appropriations (expenditures) were cut from $23.23 million to $22.68 million - $556,777 or 2.37%.
Considering two line items in the Recreation Filing Fee Fund budget were slashed by $130,000 and the Appropriated Fund Balance (Reserves) was now considered not needed, it was also removed from the budget, and the budget was actually reduced by $426,777. It also means that the amount of Appropriated Fund Balance (Reserves) used to offset the difference between appropriations (expenditures) and revenues drops from $1.11 million to $978,735 and leaves near $3 million in reserves for next year’s budget; and will again wind up being well over $4 million next year when there will be three Town Board seats up for re-election and a fiscally responsible budget can be had.
The bottom line is that with the budget cuts the new tax rate will be reduced from 8.28 to 8.11 (dollars per thousand dollars of assessed valuation). The property tax on a home assessed at $100,000 will lessen from $986.34 (includes refuse and water) to $969.34. Under the 2010 budget tax rate of 8.19 that homeowner would have paid $977; had his or her assessment remained the same.
An individual whose assessment went up $30,000 would now pay $243 more in taxes instead of $248 under the preliminary proposed budget.
It appears quite clear that the several individuals who spoke out against the tentative budget had some effect on getting the fiscally irresponsible budget reduced. But will this reduction satisfy those who review what was taken out of the budget, what was left in and how little of the reserves were used.
Despite slashing $426,777 from the tentative budget, the spending in the Final Budget (excluding Special Districts) still increases by $1.35 million, 6.33%. Fewer reserves ($130,000)were also spent to lower the tax levy.
Adjustments to the Budget
General Fund – Townwide ($272,000)
Ambulance - $40,000
Youth Incentives (Lancaster contractual) - $5,000
Youth Incentive (Depew contractual) - $2,000
Worker’s Comp (Volunteer Ambulance) - $60,000
Bond Anticipation Notes (Principal) - $165,000
General Fund –Town Outside of Villages ($33,600)
All from the Disaster Preparedness Fund
Police Fund ($21,530)
Overtime for patrol - $20,000 (from $200,000 to $180,000)
Employee Benefits (Social Security Tax) - $1,530
Highway Department ($99,647)
New Hire Denial - $55,203
Wage increase for added seasonal help - +$12,500
Retirement ell Backs - $35,000
Social Security Tax - $5,944
Interfund Transfer for Self Health Insurance - $16,000
Recreation Filing Fee Fund
Culture & Recreation (Equipment & Capital Outlay) - $120,000 (from $120,000 to $0)
Culture & Recreation (Contractual Expense) - $10,000 (from $10,000 to $0)
Appropriate Fund Balance – Was $168,000, now $38,500 because of cuts (-$130,000)
Summary of Adjustments
TOTAL NET ADJUSTMENTS – APPROPRIATIONS = $556,777
TOTAL NET ADJUSTMENTS – APPROPRIATED FUND BALANCE = $130,000
TOTAL NET ADJUSTMENTS – AMOUNT TO BE RAISED BY TAXATION = $426,777
For those that believe that taxes were reduced for everyone because the 2011 tax rate of 8.11 is lower than the 8.19 tax rate of 2010, think again. After reval, and especially like the one that took place in Lancaster where total property valuation increased by $300 million, the tax rate always fall below the previous year’s.
The tentative budget tax rate increase of 8.28 was obscene and was attributable to the obscene spending increase of 8.94%. The question now becomes whether this final budget proposal is fiscally responsible. At a time of economic crisis, should a town budget that increase spending by 6.33% be considered responsible? A town budget that along with the Special Districts budget increases spending from $28.15 million in 2010 to $29.69, or by 5.47%.
Lastly, there are several questions that need asking on some of the cuts; like the principal on the Bond Anticipation Notes; $165,000.
Your comments would be appreciated.
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