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Town of Niagara adopts 2021 budget

Fri, Nov 6th 2020 12:00 pm

Stavatti Aerospace lands at USARC site

By Michael DePietro

The Town of Niagara voted to adopt its proposed 2021 budget on Wednesday. The total overall budget as submitted is $9,515,442.

Other notable figures includes a general fund (nontaxable) balance of $4,079,726, a decrease of $189,615 from the previous year); highway – $1,433.941 (an increase of $63.655); water – $1.045,873.00 (an increase of $41,242); sewer – $2,220,902.00 (an increase of $ 52,902); fire – $635,000 (an increase of $20,000); and lighting – $100.000, (an increase of $5,000)

The total amount to be raised by taxes is $2,582,599, which is even with the New York state mandated tax cap.

The budget includes a homestead tax rate increase of $48/$1,000 of assessed value or $48 on a home that is assessed for $100,000. The non-homestead tax rate is $40/$1,000 of assessed value or $40 on a home or business assessed at $100,000.

Supervisor Lee Wallace spoke on some of the challenges for this year’s budget and the tax increases.

“We try to go right up to the tax cap and, as you can see, we still have to take money out of the fund balance,” Wallace said. “The budget really has almost no increases in equipment and contractual services. The only increase is basically due to salary applications.”

Wallace said COVID-19 had a significant impact on the Town of Niagara compared to other municipalities as it traditionally relies heavily on sales tax revenue.

“COVID-19 is tough on all of us but it’s hurt us more in revenue because our general fund budget, which is made up of a number of departments, it’s not funded by property tax. It’s funded by revenue sources. So we were hurt significantly by sales tax and also by court fees and things like that.”

In other town news, Stavatti Aerospace formally took over the site adjacent to the Niagara Falls International Airport on Oct. 31. The town recently cleared the way for the move by rezoning the property at 9400 Porter Road from light industrial to heavy industrial.

The company says that the Stavatti Niagara site – which will serve as a prototype development, production and aircraft Low Rate Initial Production Center – is expected to generate nearly 600 aerospace engineering, development and manufacturing jobs within the next five years.

Anticipated key programs for the Niagara site are next-generation Stavatti military, commercial, and general aviation aircraft that include the SM-27 Machete (turboprop), SM-28 Machete (turbofan), SM-31 Stiletto, SM-100 twin-engine intermodal transport and SM-150 personal air vehicle.

Wallace said he and other board members are excited for the project and the prospects that it could create.

“I’m very excited about the project,” he said. “The whole Town Board is behind it. You know, it’s been a long process. The town has been in negotiation with the Department of Defense for this project since 2005 and it’s been off the tax rolls for over 60 years. The project looks like it’s going to bring a lot of jobs and a lot of prospects and a lot of prosperity to Niagara County and the Town of Niagara and we’re real excited.”

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