By Mike Pidanick
In a very brief public hearing and special Town Board meeting for the 2017 budget, held Wednesday at Town Hall, the Town of Niagara officially approved the 2017 budget proposal originally revealed by Supervisor Lee Wallace early last month.
The budget, which is the same as the one originally submitted, is $237 below the state tax cap. Community members had one last chance to express concerns at the special meeting, but, as is often the case, nobody had anything to say - because nobody was even there.
The only community member who entered City Hall during the special meeting was a woman showing on the wrong day for court. Even with board members advising the women what to do, roll calls as well as the pledge of allegiance and prayer, the meeting lasted less than five minutes.
Board members present, including Wallace, Deputy Supervisor Charles F. Teixeira, as well as councilmen Samuel S. Gatto and Richard A. Sirianni, unanimously approved the budget. And the lack of attendance at the final hearing was viewed as a sign the budget is acceptable to the public.
"If you're worried about your taxes and how they're going to be spent, then I think this is where you'd want to be," Teixeira said. "If you're not, then ... I guess this is a good sign."
Wallace previously announced the budget, which is an increase of $31,996 overall, in early October. The total town budget for 2017 is $8,746,981. Of that, $1,940,816 is expected to be raised by taxes.
The boost in property taxes amounts to 27 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation for homestead properties, and 12 cents per $1,000 for non-homestead properties.
A work session was held shortly after the special budget meeting. Another work session, which is open to the public, is set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Town Hall. The next board meeting will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15.