Weekly Feature

2018-04-11 / Front Page

Village’s tentative budget shows 7.26 percent tax rate decrease

by HOLLY N. LIPKA Reporter

The 2018-19 village budget is projecting a decrease in the tax rate, which is partly “due to the reassessment completed by the Town of Amherst in 2017, which becomes effective in the village’s 2018-19 fiscal year,” said Mayor Dan DeLano.

The preliminary budget of $3.76 million was presented to village residents at Monday’s Village Board meeting, and a public hearing was held for those interested in commenting on the spending plan. There was no public comment.

Village officials are estimating a tax rate decrease of 7.26 percent from a rate of $4.19 to a rate of $3.89 per $1,000 of assessed value at 100 percent equalization. The decrease partly comes from an estimated 13.7 percent increase in total assessed property valuation, from $416.8 million to $473.8 million.

According to the state Department of Taxation and Finance, when a reassessment results in increased assessments due to rising property values, tax rates should go down proportionally. This is because the tax levy, the amount of taxes raised by property owners, is now being distributed over a broader tax base.

The tax levy is projected to increase 5.42 percent from the current year’s tax levy to $1.84 million.

The water surcharge will remain at $1.87 per 1,000 gallons consumed. This cost is used to pay off existing debt and costs related to work completed by the Erie County Water Authority when the village water system consolidated with the ECWA in 2014.

In addition, sewer rates will be changing. The capital rate, based on assessed property value, will decrease 11.27 percent from 85 cents to 75 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. The operation and maintenance rate, which is based on water consumption, will increase 2 percent from $5.31 to $5.42 per 1,000 gallons of water consumed.

To mitigate the rates based on water consumption, the board will be revisiting a 2016 inflow and infiltration study to kick-start its plan for a sanitary sewer consolidation either into Erie County or into the Town of Amherst.

According to the 2016 Williamsville Prospectus, the study found areas in need of inflow and infiltration remediation, including South and North Ellicott streets; Main Street; and North Long and Reist streets.

The study also determined that the village system requires $2.9 million worth of upgrades.

“We treat a lot of stormwater, and the proof is in the numbers every time there’s a wet season,” said DeLano. “Our first step is to revisit that study, re-evaluate the numbers, and see what the cost savings would be [with sewer consolidation].”

Ben Vilonen, Department of Public Works crew chief, said the department is currently investigating all locations that need repairs and will have completed its assessment by the end of this year.

For more information or to review the 2018-19 proposed budget, visit walkablewilliamsville.com.

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