Weekly Feature



2018-10-17 / Front Page

Town Board presents Capital Improvement Plan

by ANNA DEROSA Associate Editor

At Monday’s Town Board meeting, Supervisor Brian Kulpa gave a presentation on the town’s Capital Improvement Plan for 2019-24.

According to the presentation, the plan identifies and prioritizes large capital projects, their costs and funding sources, and generally involves physical improvements with project costs in excess of $100,000.

In April and May, the town held 10 neighborhood forums, with 438 residents and stakeholders participating. At the meetings, comments and input were gathered from the stakeholders regarding their likes and desires in their neighborhoods.

According to Kulpa, the idea for the forums was to generate comments on what people are seeing firsthand in their neighborhood.

The town also held other meetings, such as ice cream social events and a meeting with nine YouthWork$ youth and students to get their thoughts, as well.

At the meetings, a concentric circle exercise allowed multiple tables of eight to 10 people to work together. They were provided with a worksheet and markers at each table. Residents were also given maps of their neighborhoods, and each table had a facilitator to guide the discussion.

Kulpa noted that the concentric circle exercise helped decipher what residents and neighbors think about the areas that they live in, including having a discussion about their neighborhood in its past and present state to talking about what they want for their neighborhood in the future.

“By doing that we’re hoping to concentrate some data and focus on making sure that we’re providing projects that are not only necessary for town infrastructure but also necessary to fulfill people’s desires within their neighborhood and to address concerns within different spaces throughout the town,” Kulpa said.

The common historic themes were preserving community character, such as more trees and large undeveloped lots, less traffic and quieter areas. Common present themes were good schools and good services along with access and convenience to goods and services. In the future, residents said they’d like to see more pedestrian improvements/connections, growth management and better/less development.

From input gathered at the 10 meetings, examples of items that residents would want to change or implement include: better pedestrian safety, sidewalk improvements, more bike paths/trail connections, less traffic congestion, infrastructure improvements, less and better development, infill development, more street lighting, preserving green space, addressing absentee landlords and establishing a Thruway access at Youngs Road.

According to Kulpa, the input that was collected directly influenced the plan and what was done with the budget this year.

The CIP Review Committee comprises Kulpa, the committee chair; town Planning Board chair; town comptroller; town attorney; town engineer or other engineering department designees; planning director; and planning department staff to assist in the process and organization.

A public hearing on the Capital Improvement Plan will be held at the Town Board’s next meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29, at the Amherst Municipal Building, 5583 Main St., Williamsville.

Also on Oct. 29, a public hearing will be held on the 2019 tentative budget. The spending plan of $133.9 million carries an approximately $6.6 million overall increase from the current year of $127.3 million.

The 2019 tax levy — the amount of money needed to be raised by property taxes — stands at $80.3 million, a 7.32 percent increase from the 2018 tax levy of $74.8 million.

Also in the proposed budget, the tax rate would rise around 1.73 percent by next year.

The owners of a home assessed at $150,000 would see property taxes go up by $18.61, while owners of a home assessed at $200,000 would see an increase of $24.81. And, an owner of a home assessed at $250,000 would see an increase of $31.02.

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