by Susan Mikula Campbell
Town of Niagara Supervisor Steven Richards will submit his tentative town budget to the Town Board at a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 1.
The budget will contain a 5.6 percent tax decrease for residential homeowners and a 3.5 percent decrease for business owners, Richards said.
Richards, a town businessman, is in his 18th year as supervisor, and this is the 17th budget he has presented to the board.
"I am well known in Western New York as a fiscal conservative who has always prepared sound non-political budgets, always putting the residents and their needs first and foremost above any political mumbo jumbo," he said.
The 2014 budget will continue to fund the supervisor's five-year road reconstruction program with 17 roads already completed and five more scheduled for next year. The budget also contains funds for a new highway plow truck, $100,000 for the outlying neighborhood town parks for new equipment and upgrades, $100,000 for the demolition of unsightly and abandoned homes throughout the town, $50,000 toward a new roof on the town garage, $10,000 for two new entrance signs into the town, $25,000 for drainage projects and funds for one new full-time police officer and bringing back the part-time town hall laborer.
The 2014 budget contains no raises for any town employee or elected official as no agreement has been reached with the town's union membership and it would be unfair to give out raises to elected and political appointments and not to the union employees, Richards said.
The amount of tax dollars raised in next year's budget is $1,853,184.86, which is $78,808.05 less than was raised in 2013.
The 2014 tax rates, if this budget is approved after board review, will be $4.45 per $1,000 assessed value residential and $8.40 per $1,000 assessed value commercial. Last year's rates were $4.71 and $8.71 respectfully. The total spending plan under the proposed budget will be $7,730,597.28.