by Susan Mikula Campbell
The Town of Niagara still does not have an approved budget for 2014.
Board members plan to meet at least one more time on the budget before the Tuesday, Nov. 19, regular Town Board meeting, according to Deputy Supervisor Danny Sklarski. Hopefully, at that time a final budget vote will be passed in order to meet the state deadline, he said.
At this point, except for a line item funds exchange in the police department, the board has not changed the tentative $7.73 million tentative budget submitted by Supervisor Steve Richards last month, Sklarski said.
Richards' 2014 budget, is expected to be the main item on the Nov. 19 agenda. It includes a 5.6 percent tax decrease for homeowners and a 3.5 percent decrease for business owners. Although changes have yet to be made, controversy has arisen over several items.
On Nov. 6, the councilmen held a budget session and met with Highway Superintendent Bob Herman to discuss needed drainage and road work in the Belden Center area and how it should be funded.
Board members have discussed disposition of park funds, which were directed for improvements at Veterans Park, including new dugouts, and $100,000 for new equipment in neighborhood parks, including Belden Center. Richards also is suggesting bringing back the part-time Town Hall laborer, saying it isn't right for the town clerk to have to address a maintenance problem in the men's room.
At the Nov. 7 regular work session, the board discussed a number of items expected to be included on the Nov. 19 agenda, including a Thanksgiving dinner for town seniors, permission for Goodwill to park near Town Hall to collect for the needy for the holidays, the purchase of a video camera for the police department, a youth Christmas party and holiday lighting at the community center. Also to be considered is changing the board's December meetings so the work session would be on Dec. 5 and the regular meeting on Dec. 10.