by Terry Duffy
The 2013 budget, fire company contracts and recycling were among the newsmakers at an otherwise routine Town of Porter Board meeting Monday.
Following a public hearing that saw no comments, the Town Board, minus Jeff Baker who was absent, went on to unanimously adopt Porter's 2013 budget of $4.715 million in total appropriations. The spending plan stays within the state's 2 percent property tax cap and brings a tax rate of $1.867 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, an increase of 3 cents over last year's rate for property owners. "The town kept the tax rate below 2 percent ... it raises the tax rate 3 cents," said Supervisor Mert Wiepert. He added the plan provides the town "a little extra for the fund balance."
By the numbers, under appropriations it breaks down as follows: General Fund A, $1.179 million, with $703,128 or $1.867 per $1,000 to be raised by taxes. Others, such as General Fund B, $1.187 million; Highway DA - Town-wide, $1,677; Highway DB - Outside Village, $981,120; Water Department - $381,094; and Sewer Department - $385,665, all are funded via revenues and unexpended balances with $0 to be raised by taxes.
Special Districts appropriations include: Town of Porter Lighting, $9,500 with $8,450 to be raised by taxation; Porter Lateral, $7,650 with $7,645 raised by taxation; Lakeshore Sewer District, $52,225 with $52,125 raised by taxation and Mallory/Groveland Road Project, $3,962 with $3,950 raised by taxes.
The town also approved the Youngstown Volunteer Fire Co. contact of $164,424 and the Ransomville Volunteer Fire Co. contract of $260,499 for 2013. YFC's Greg Robertson Sr. told the board the budget reflects an increase of $3,200 over last year but that the fire company had still managed to keep its increase under 2 percent.
All total the town's 2013 budget represents $1,201,746 to be raised by taxes.
"All department heads worked hard to hold the line on expenses," commented Wiepert. "I want to thank them for the wonderful job they did, and I want to thank the Town Board for the way they cooperated in arriving at this budget."
He remarked the budget numbers absorbed increases in town hospitalization and retirement expenses for 2013 and provided increased funding to both the Ransomville and Youngstown Free libraries by 2 percent or $1,424 each for a total appropriation of $145,316. In addition the budget provides for 2 percent salary increases for most town employees.
For town elected officials 2013 salaries are as follows: supervisor, $32,082; town justice (each), $16,657; town councilman (each) $7,165; town clerk, $38,230; town superintendent of highways, $35,743; and town tax collector, $5,878.
"It's a good budget; it keeps expenses down, taxes reasonable," added Deputy Supervisor Tom Baia.
Moving to other news, the town announced that Modern Recycling will be holding the second of its planned informational open houses for Porter residents on Modern's updated recycling program, on Saturday, Nov. 10, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Ransomville firehall, 2521 Youngstown-Lockport Road.
Norm Ault, town bookkeeper/supervisor's assistant, reported that Modern was expected to begin delivery of the new 65 gallon bins to town residents on Tuesday, Nov. 13. Town residents would be able to retain their current smaller receptacles.
The new recycling program will see alternating collections beginning the week of Dec. 3 in two town districts, to be designated by weeks. For example the A Week will include residents in the town's west, middle and northern areas (outside Youngstown). Specifically they include the lower River Road neighborhoods and Collingwood Estates and Youngstown Estates on the west; Blairville Road, East Avenue and Youngstown-Lockport Road to Creek Road neighborhoods on the middle - both bordering on the south at the Porter-Lewiston town line; and the Lake Road residential areas on the north. Pickups for A Week residences begin the week of Dec. 3 and will then continue every other week.
Pickups for B Week residences will begin the week of Monday, Dec. 10, and include all of the town from Creek Road on the west to the Ransomville Road areas on the east (including Ransomville) and those from Lake Road on the north to Balmer Road and down to the town line on the south. Again the pickups for Week B residences would then continue from the Dec. 10 start on an alternating basis every other week.
Garbage pickups will continue to be done on a weekly basis by Modern in all areas of the town as they have been.
"We believe increased recycling with every other week pickup is a major win for all Porter residents," said Ault. On Monday the town approved its updated Modern recycling contract of $280,000 to be paid annually to 2018. It's one that provides for an deduction/savings of $20,000 annually to the town, realized through the new recycling program. Ault said the savings would go into town reserves.
For further information on the new recycling program, he encourages residents to attend the Saturday open house in Ransomville, and/or visit www.modernrecycles.com or contact the company at 1-800-330-7107.
In other news:
•The board approved the placement of unpaid water/sewer bills and town charges totaling $56,466.12 as a lien on the 2013 Niagara Town and County tax roll.
•Roy Rogers, town building inspector/code enforcement officer reported that 11 building permits with a total value of $141,600 were issued for October, and that for 2012 a total of 100 permits in excess of $4.3 million in value have been issued by the town. "It's the most we've ever had, so far," commented Rogers.
•Wiepert reported that volunteers are being sought to serve on a new Porter on the Lake committee now being formed. For further information, call Town Hall at 716-745-3730.