By Mike Pidanick
It's time to talk budget for the Wheatfield Town Board. And preliminary indications show there could be some good news on the horizon for taxpayers.
Town of Wheatfield residents could be in line for another tax cut - albeit a very small one. But it also allows for some much-needed improvements to the town as well.
The Town Board recently received the $12.8 million 2016 tentative budget and, if passed as is, taxpayers would see a 0.11 percent cut in taxes.
"This tentative budget is again one that will be very good for taxpayers," Town Supervisor Bob Cliffe said at Monday's board meeting at Wheatfield Town Hall. "Any tax cut is better than no tax cut."
A house valued at $125,000 will pay about 55 cents less in taxes this season if the budget is passed as is, Cliffe said.
The budget is actually the compilation of each of the departments, "with a tweak here and there," Cliffe said.
The budget includes an additional $40,000 for salt after issues last winter and increasing prices, a boost of $29,700 in spending for firemen and an increase of $26,000 in payments for library services.
There will be a work session with board members and department heads on Oct. 14 and it is open to the public. The budget is expected to be a hot topic at the next regular board meeting on Oct. 19.
There's a public hearing to discuss the budget at 7:15 p.m. Nov. 2. The budget could be passed that night or at the next meeting on Nov. 16. All meetings are at the Wheatfield Town Hall.
The entire budget proposal is available at the town's website, wheatfield.ny.us.
The board also unanimously approved the Flood Insurance Rate Map as required by the National Flood Insurance Program, related to changes by the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. The vote was basically, as Cliffe said, "window dressing." Since the affected area is on private property, there wouldn't be much the board could do to stop anything anyway.
There was a special public hearing on the proposal, starting at 7:15 p.m., 15 minutes before the regular meeting. No members of the public made comments.
"They've asked us to go through the process," said Tim Zuber, project engineer at Wendel, "as they do with any big-letter map revisions and just adopt it into the town code so that people are aware of that map change just in case anything ever happens. It's all on the base, so the town couldn't ever have any propriety authority there anyway, but it's just the due process."