The Lancaster town board will be voting on the final version of the 2023 General Fund and Special Districts budget this coming Monday, November 7th.

The General Fund budget includes 11th hour adjustments to the preliminary budget:

Central Printing & Mailing - $3,000
Dog Control - $10,000
Police - $115,000

The $31,825,199 budget increases spending by $1.93 million; 6.46%. It increases the tax levy (Amount to be Raised by Taxation) $674,436; 3.97%. It has a 0,99% tax bill increase for town residents.

Assuming single family residential property in Town & Villages assessed at $100,000:


$8.00 increase (0.99%); from $809 to $817.

Village of Lancaster

$3 increase (0.15%); from $507 to $510.

Village of Depew

$15 increase (7.35%); from $204 to $219


Aside from considering the budget’s bottom line of only a 1% increase in the tax bill fiscally responsible, questions posed at the public hearing on how the town got to the bottom line went unanswered- especially when data is missing concerning:

Employee wages and benefits

No definitive data is provided in the budget to indicate whether the budget has money allocated to cover any wage and benefit adjustment increases should the ongoing union contract negotiations be settled this year, or in the near future.

My understanding is that the union contracts expired in December 2020. Contract negotiations have been underway and have recently been declared in impasse and will go to arbitration in the near future. Rumor has it that the union has been presented a responsible offer but has yet to put the offer before its membership for vote. Despite union contract negotiations supposedly remaining private and staying within executive committee leaks always occur.

If a fair offer was put before the union, it is unfortunate that the offer has not been put before the membership for vote. Equally unfortunate that taxpayers hear nothing of the negotiations to determine whether the offer was fair / responsible at a time when the inflation rate is 8.2% and the increase in interest rates is further eroding consumer spending opportunities.

Most troubling is that the town will not reveal whether federal Covid funds are going to be used to offset employee contract wage and benefit adjustments; whether it be this year or whenever the contracts are settled. No knowledge whether the contracts will be retroactive or forgoing.

Crickets on how much the Town of Lancaster received in stimulus money, what any of it has been used for until now, what remains, or whether any is being reserved to cover union contract wage & benefit settlement agreement. Questions at the public hearing and in a communication submitted to the town board have gone unanswered.

The preliminary budget presented for public review and comment was not the preliminary budget recently posted on the website. The ‘preliminary’ budget published on the town’s website after the public hearing was what should have been presented at the public hearing. It has added data, corrected data, and adjustments that were not present in the budget that was presented to the public

There are still too many unknowns to determine whether a budget that increases spending by 6.36%, increases the tax levy by 3.97%, but has a less than 1% tax rate increase is a responsible budget.

Show us the work. Tell us which budget is being voted on. Hope that happens Monday night. Taxpayers are deserving of knowing what the budget entails, where the money is going. It's their money!