Village of Lewiston 'hoping' for no tax rate increaseby jmaloni
by Joshua Maloni
Trustees in the Village of Lewiston expect to adopt a budget for 2012-13 during their monthly board meeting in May. Barring any last-minute changes, the tax rate is expected to remain at $7.12 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.
On Wednesday, Mayor Terry Collesano said, "At this point, we're hoping that we can put it at that rate."
Following a public hearing, the board tabled a motion to approve a $3,328,423 budget. Trustees are still looking into the costs associated with pensions, unions and the Lewiston Police Department.
Ron Craft, a former trustee and the owner of Fine Antiques on Center Street, mentioned the LPD could merge with the Niagara County Sheriff's Office and suggested organizations staging festivals contribute more to the set up and clean up costs.
"Taxes are going to go nowhere but up - that's the way I see it," he said. "We've got a nice village here, but we've got nowhere to go (to find additional revenue sources)."
The LPD is financed by the Town and Village of Lewiston. The latter's projected share in the new fiscal year is $294,000.
"We are concerned about that," Collesano said, and offered that Village of Lewiston Attorney Edward Jesella is working out police contract details with Town of Lewiston Attorney Michael Dowd.
"We're trying to work something out," Collesano said. He inferred the village's police budget is starting to become unreasonable.
"We haven't come to any conclusions yet, but we are working on it," Collesano said.
As for festival organizers, the mayor said those groups already contribute significantly to the process. With regard to prospective new inquiries to close Center Street, he said, "We're trying to get away from that."
"We'd rather see them use Academy Park or the waterfront," Collesano said.
News and Notes
•The village election is Tuesday, June 19. Trustees Ernie Krell and Therese Mudd are both up for re-election. Their seats carry a four-year term.
•Deputy Mayor Bruce Sutherland said the village is eyeing 22 new, perpendicular parking spaces on North First Street by the Barton Hill Hotel & Spa.
This long-term project would require, among other things, a retaining wall. In the meantime, the Department of Public Works is expected to add 11 feet of stone, which will be used for 11 parallel parking spaces.
•"May Clean Up Week" is scheduled for April 29 to May 4. Each day, residents are invited to place large, unwanted items at the end of their driveways for pickup by the DPW.
•The Village Board canceled a public hearing on obtaining a bond anticipation note to pay for almost $100,000 in capital improvements (mainly related to inflow and infiltration problems). Collesano said trustees are waiting to hear from the Town of Lewiston Council, which may contribute some of its New York Power Authority relicensing money to this endeavor.