BY JOE OLENICK email@example.com
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The proposed 2014 Town of Lockport budget includes a very small tax cut, one that could get even bigger after Wednesday.
At a work session last week, Finance Director Kate Carter presented the $14.8 million spending plan, which is a $475,000 or 3.3 percent increase in spending from the current year. The amount taken in by taxes would rise by .36 percent, or about $20,000.
However, that would reduce the total tax bill by $2.90 on a house assessed at $100,000, which is the average assessment in most of the town. The Carlisle Gardens subdivision’s average $110,000 home would see a $3.04 decrease in 2014 while the Lincoln Village subdivision would see a $2.05 drop on its average home, which is assessed at $70,000.
The draft budget assumed an 8 percent increase in the town’s cost for contributions to the state’s public employee pension fund. But, Councilman Paul W. Siejak said that state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli recently promised municipalities a small cut in next year’s mandated pension contributions.
Carter said the reductions would be 1 percent or less, depending on which of the state’s six retirement tiers the employees are in.
The board will hold another budget work session at 1 p.m. this Wednesday. More cuts to the budget could be on the way.
As it stands, the budget calls for a reduction in fire protection taxes and the sewer capital tax, while water taxes and sewer operations and maintenance taxes would rise slightly. Refuse would stay the same. There is no general town tax in Lockport.
The budget includes $17,000 for the Lockport Public Library, the same amount budgeted for 2013, as per a contractual agreement. About $2,000 of that is for computer classes, which Supervisor Marc R. Smith said were very well attended.
“There were at least 15 people (at each),” he said.
The budget includes 2.5 percent raises for most of the elected officials, except for Highway Superintendent David J. Miller, whose pay will jump from $61,379 to $77,913, which includes a new $10,000 stipend for drainage work, but even the base pay is rising 10.6 percent.
“Quite frankly, we low-balled him when we hired him,” Smith said. “He should be paid more in line with other highway superintendents in Niagara County.”
The other elected officials’ salaries will be: Smith, $51,501; Town Clerk Nancy Brooks, $51,058; the four councilmen receive $9,906 each, with double pay for the one chosen to serve as deputy supervisor next year; and $26,341 each for the two town justices.Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.