Grand Island Town Board: More budget work aheadby jmaloni
by Larry Austin
Councilmembers decided Monday that more work is needed with the 2013 Grand Island town budget.
The Grand Island Town Board declined to pass a budget during Monday's regular monthly meeting and scheduled a workshop meeting for 8 a.m. on Friday.
Town of Grand Island Councilman Chris Aronica made a motion, seconded by Councilman Ray Billica to go over the budget one more time to try to cut taxes further, especially in light of the ongoing property reassessment process.
"We're going to look at everything across the board," Aronica said. "Put everything back on the table again."
"I appreciate that the supervisor and the accountant put a lot of time into this," Aronica said. He said the whole board was "on the same page" in a desire to lower taxes.
Tax rates are estimated because the town won't have the exact assessed valuation for a couple weeks, said Town Supervisor Mary Cooke.
The current budget includes:
•General fund appropriations of $7,115,009, with a tax levy of $2,233,480, and an estimated tax rate of $3.201 per $1,000, a 2.6 percent increase from 2012.
•Fire Protection District appropriations of $1,173,386; a tax levy of $1,171,886; with an estimated tax rate of $1.591 per $1,000, a 1.9 percent increase above the 2012 rate of $1.562.
•Highway fund total appropriations of $3,215,999, with a tax levy of $2,519,500, an estimated tax rate of $3.611 per $1,000, a 2.4 percent increase over the 2012 rate of $3.528.
•Sewer District Fund appropriations of $3,265,369, with a tax levy of $882,235 with a tax rate per $1,000 (land value only) of $9.346, a 2.4 percent decrease from the 2012 rate of $9.571.
•Water District Fund appropriations of $2,992,080, a tax levy of $710,584; and an estimated tax rate per $1,000 (land value only) of $5.784, the same as in 2012.
•The Refuse and Garbage District tax, a flat rate for single family dwelling, would rise 3.8 percent, from $183 in 2012 to $190.
Aronica moved to refer it to the Town Board for discussion, concerned that any increases would be inappropriate.
During a public hearing on the budget, resident Dan Drexelius of Whitehaven Road expressed his dissatisfaction with the parts of the budget, especially the garbage tax.
"We're getting a garbage job for the garbage," Drexelius said.
Pam Barton, town accountant, spoke in favor of the budget as presented, calling it "a good, fair budget."
Barton said the impact to an average household on the Island is $22.94 or 1.86 percent.
The average home on the Island would pay a tax bill of $1,260, lower than neighboring towns, she said.
Cooke noted that the next Town Board meeting, scheduled for Nov. 19 meeting, is too late to adopt the budget to meet the county deadline.