Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The city tax levy is up, layoffs are down and water and sewer rates are unchanged in the latest version of the 2014 city budget.
Mayor Michael W. Tucker said Wednesday the budget currently includes the layoffs of four police officers, eight firefighters and one employee each from the building inspection, youth, highway and city clerk’s departments.
But, Tucker added, he expects police personnel cuts will be avoided. The union and the department met the Common Council halfway, Tucker said, and delivered some cost-cutting measures.
“I think I can safely say it’s unlikely there will be any police officers laid off,” Tucker said.
The fire department still faces the possibility of eight layoffs, one less than a day earlier. City officials will continue to talk with firefighters, Tucker told residents who attended the Council’s annual public hearing on the proposed budget.
“Before this budget is passed next week, there could be some movement there,” he said.
In the $23.7 million spending plan that was presented to the public Wednesday, the tax levy would increase by 1.7 percent, to $10.6 million.
The tax levy is the total amount of property tax to be collected, citywide. The tax rate is derived by dividing the levy into total taxable property value.
The 2014 tax rate at this point would be $15.07 per $1,000 of assessed property value, a 34-cent increase over this year’s rate.
John Schiavone of Lumsden & McCormick, the accounting firm in charge of putting together the city budget this year, said the tax bill on a home assessed for $85,000 would increase by $28.73.
If the Council votes next week to adopt the budget, it’ll be the first time in four years that the group agreed to raise the levy.
On the other hand, water and sewer rates won’t be increased as some aldermen feared Tuesday, when it was learned that the $491,000 expense of water and sewer retirees’ health insurance had not been written into the proposed 2014 water and sewer fund budgets.