by Susan Mikula Campbell
Wheatfield's tentative $12.48 million budget for 2014 was presented to the Town Board on Monday, Sept. 30.
The budget will be reviewed and adjusted by board members and a public hearing is planned on the resulting preliminary budget for 7 p.m. Nov. 6. Adoption of a final budget is expected at either the Nov. 6 or Nov. 18 regular Town Board meeting.
The tentative budget includes a $156,189 decrease in the tax levy.
"I'm very proud to present my fourth budget, as for the fourth year in a row, we will see a decrease in the overall tax rates, including the elimination of the remaining highway tax, a total reduction of over 4 percent," said Town Supervisor Bob Cliffe.
Cliffe said highlights in this year's budget include:
•The addition of $ 6,000 for professional nuisance animal control.
•The addition of $25,000 for mosquito control as the town's part in working with Niagara County to initiate a true mosquito control program.
•The continuation of both the popular "summer camp" and the park activities programs, terrific programs for our youth, at no cost to taxpayers.
•Major improvements in Fairmount and Mario parks, as well as the start of the Greenway Trail and the park along River Road.
•The addition of a new laborer position for the Sewer Department.
The budget includes an estimated 15 percent increase for health insurance for non-union employees, but Cliffe said he expects to have the actual, perhaps lesser, charges before the budget is finalized.
"This budget will allow us to further improve our youth programs and park facilities, while maintaining all the important services for all residents, yet cutting the cost for taxpayers - 2014 will be another great year for Wheatfield," Cliffe said.