By Joshua Maloni
The Village of Lewiston Board of Trustees unanimously approved the fiscal year 2020-21 budget on Monday. Residents will see an 8-cent increase in their property taxes, with a fee of $7.65 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. That equates to $12 more for a homeowner with a $150,000 property.
Mayor Anne Welch said, “We worked hard on this budget. We met with the department heads and went through every line of the budget. We were able to make some cuts, but we also had to make some increases.
“With our uncertain future due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of businesses, our projected and much-needed revenues and state funding may be significantly lower and will cause a great impact to our budget.
“This year’s budget includes a slight 1% tax increase. That doesn’t even cover the increases in health insurance, retirement, utilities and state mandates. This is not even a cost of living increase, and we are well under the 2% tax cap requirement. We will also be using $400,000 of the village’s fund balance to balance the budget.”
The total budget is projected to be $3,918,756, with $1,158,059 collected in property taxes. The board is anticipating having to use $448,138 in appropriated fund balance to zero out the budget. Currently, the municipality has more than $1.5 million in its bank account.
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Both the water ($3.70 per 100 cubic feet) and sewer ($4.74 per 100 cubic feet) rates will remain the same.
Welch presided over the meeting, which was open to the public via Zoom conferencing. She was joined in her office by Deputy Mayor Vic Eydt. Trustees Nick Conde, Dan Gibson and Claudia Marasco participated via their phones and computers. Also on the group chat: Clerk Shannon Fundis, Treasurer Stephanie Myers, Attorney Joseph Leone, Engineer Michael Marino, Building and Zoning Officer Ken Candella, Department of Public Works Superintendent Larry Wills, Fire Inspector Barry Beebe and Recreation Director Brendan McDermott.
No members of the public spoke at the meeting.
Wills said leaf pickup has concluded in the village. Residents with remaining leaves or grass clippings can pack them up and set the bags to be collected with their trash.
Boat Launch Opening
With New York now allowing marinas and boat launch sites to open, Welch said she anticipates residents with waterfront boat slips will be in the water as of May 1.
At this time, only personal, recreational watercraft are allowed to operate under the current terms of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “New York State on PAUSE” mandate. Learn more HERE.
Marino said he expects the last remnants of concrete work along the boardwalk to be completed this week.
“Now that the announcement about marinas is out there, we really want to get that buttoned up,” he said.