By Benjamin Joe
The average Town of Wheatfield homeowner, with a house assessed at $125,000, will receive an additional $9.93 on their taxes this year, according to Budget Officer Edward Mongold. While the budget has not been put in front of the residents, the 2020 tentative budget is complete and can be accessed at Town Hall. A public hearing for the budget has been scheduled at 6:45 p.m., Nov. 4.
The tentative budget was part of the agenda at Monday’s Town of Wheatfield board meeting. The councilmen suggested a decrease in the amount of a little less than $9,000. These changes affected the justice, parks and Social Security departments with a $5,000 decrease in the justice’s contractual; a $3,636 decrease to parks personnel; and a $300 decrease in Social Security.
Mongold said the reason for the tax increase is the rising price for garbage in the Town of Wheatfield. The price of garbage in the district is budgeted as more than $1.2 million.
“In 2019, it (the tax for the average household) was $504.98, and for 2020 it would be $514.91. That’s a 1.97% increase, which is below the 2% tax cap, and the increase is primarily due to our huge increase in our garbage and recycling cost that the town is incurring,” Mongold said.
He explained the increase in garbage and recycling pickup can be traced to the town’s contract with the Modern Corporation. While being the lower of two bids for the job, Modern’s bid is still an increase in the fees.
“It used to be years ago that recycling was a money maker, but it’s my understanding that it’s not a money maker anymore,” Mongold explained. “They have to build it in with the garbage pick-up and the recycling program.”
The total tax levy on the town is a little more than $3.8 million in order to finance sewer, lighting, garbage and fire protection services in the town. There will be no taxes levied for services from the general fund, including building permits, parks and recreation, and wages for the Town Board, town justices, and the supervisor. Instead, they will be funded by $700,000 the town has held in reserve for this purpose. Of this reserve, $1.6 million is to be spent to bridge the expenses to the expected revenues.
“The general fund and highway fund is being primarily funded by sales tax and the water fund is being funded by water bills. The sewer is funded by the tax levy and a partial sewer rent on the water bill,” Mongold said. “That’s part of that $724,000 (estimated revenue for the sewer fund). … It’s based on water consumption.”
Wages for the supervisor are $42,855; $19,407 for the deputy supervisor; $15,350 for councilmen; $26,968 for town justices; $76,500 for the superintendent of highways; and $69,232 for the town clerk.