By Joshua Maloni
The Village of Lewiston Board of Trustees will present the projected fiscal year 2021-22 budget at a 6 p.m. meeting Monday, April 19, inside the Red Brick Municipal Building.
Following a pair of meetings, and discussions with department heads, Treasurer Stephanie Myers has prepared an estimated budget of $4,088,804, which is $169,548 more than the current cycle. That includes $3,279,154 in general fund expenses (an increase of $142,518), $356,000 in water fees (down $21,087), and $453,650 for sewer maintenance (up $48,117). Revenues are projected to be $3,576,179, an increase of $75,500.
The tax rate is set at $7.76. A 9.5-cent tax increase, per $100,000 of assessed valuation, will net an additional $15,018. The sewer rate is intended to remain the same, at $4.79 per 100 cubic feet of usage. The water rate would increase 5 cents – to $3.75 – for an additional $4,600 to the village.
Trustees anticipate needing $512,625 in appropriated fund balance – up from the projected $448,138 for 2020-21 – to balance the spreadsheet. The village has a little more than $2 million in the bank.
Of course, the municipality has rarely had to pull from its coffers in recent years. Accountant Pat Brown of Brown & Company recently compiled a list of the past nine budgets. It was thought a total of $1,065,615 would be needed to balance the budgets – ranging from $24,068 in 2012 to last year’s $448,138. In actuality, the village had a surplus of $1,397,863 in that period – a favorable variance of $2,463,478.
The village is currently $281,183 on the plus side for the fiscal year ending May 31. If that stands, it will be an almost $730,000 positive variance.
Mayor Anne Welch said, “After budget work sessions and reviewing the proposed 2021-22 budget, the Village Board was able to reduce some of the budget lines. We still have to use some of the fund balance and increase taxes by .095105, which meets the NYS guidelines to stay under the tax cap. Property taxes will increase approximately 10 cents per thousand, which doesn’t even cover the cost-of-living increases. Utilities, health care and insurance rates have increased. Due to COVID, our state aid and sales tax revenue has been reduced along with other lost revenue sources.
“We will still provide all the great services to our residents.”