New fiscal year begins June 1
By Joshua Maloni
Trustees in the Village of Lewiston on Monday voted to approve the fiscal year 2023-24 budget – a financial plan that includes a tax increase.
As previously reported, the tax rate rose 20 cents per $1,000 of assessed property valuation – to $7.964858. That means a homeowner with property appraised at $100,000 will be charged approximately $20 more in the fiscal year that begins June 1.
Mayor Anne Welch explained, “We have had budget meetings; and we’ve gone over everything in our budget, trying to make everything work.”
She added, “Everybody is aware that everything is up – a lot higher than what we’re used to. As you have to meet those demands, so do we. So, there is a slight increase in the tax rate. …
“We are also using part of our fund balance to offset that cost, also.
“Like I said, we’re doing the best we can to still be able to provide all the services to our residents, and to meet the demands of all the materials that we have to get.”
The total estimated budget is $4,767,574, with revenues projected at $4,100,072. As such, approximately $648,710 in appropriated fund balance – plus $18,792 from the sewer fund – will would be required to balance the budget.
Trustees approved the budget on a 4-0 vote. Board member Dan Gibson was excused.
A public hearing prior to the vote yielded no comments.
Additional budget highlights include:
•The total estimated budget of $4,767,574 is an increase of $277,689 from the 2022-23 budget
√ The general fund is $3,882,460, an increase of $265,505
√ The water fund is $414,678, an increase of $3,748
√ The sewer fund is $470,436, an increase of $7,436
√ Revenue is $4,100,072, an increase of $233,868
•Water and sewer rates
√ The water rate remains the same, at $4.03 per 100 cubic feet of usage
√ The sewer rate also remains the same, at $4.79 per 100 cubic feet of usage
√ An appropriated fund balance of $18,792 from sewer fund will go toward balancing the budget
•Top 5 expense items – all are essential services
√ Sewer treatment – $312,610
√ Fire protection – $440,973 ($360,473 comes from the Town of Lewiston)
√ Water supply – $348,940
√ Police protection – $284,004 (budgeted for $304,004)
√ Employee benefits – $647,588 – this includes health insurance, retirement, self-insurance compensation (through Niagara County), Medicare and FICA tax
•Total general revenue: $3,233,750, an increase of $241,476
$414,678 in water fees ($3,748 increase) and $451,644 in sewer fees ($11,356 decrease)
•Total revenue plus water and sewer fees: $4,100,072
√ Property taxes: $1,273,499, an increase of $40,578
√ Real property rentals: $115,000, an increase of $15,000
√ Sales tax: $90,000, an increase of $10,000
√ Mortgage tax: $70,000, an increase of $10,000
√ Cell tower royalties: $30,000, an increase of $10,000
√ Sewer treatment total: $374,910, a savings of $4,496
Mark Your Calendars
•Spring cleanup is slated for May 1-5.
Welch said, “It’s like large pickup. Anybody can put anything to the street, every day that week, and it will be picked up. It’s a good time to clean out basements and garages, and do some landscaping. Our (Department of Public Works) guys will be out every day to pick up whatever is put to the street.”
•The Recreation Department-led Spring Fling will take place Sunday, May 14. Trustees voted to approve the annual event’s one-mile run.
•Village Board members accepted a slate of Lewiston Council on the Arts events, including:
√ July 3 – Free concert with the 42nd Infantry Band at Academy Park
√ July 31 – Free concert with Seventh Sign at Academy Park
√ Aug. 7 – Free concert with Reflector at Hennepin Park
√ Oct. 7, 14, 21, 28, 29 – Marble Orchard Ghost Walks
•Ransomville Care-N-Share was granted permission to collect donations outside of Artpark State Park on concert nights – with the caveat the agency coordinate with Community Missions, which, likewise, is allowed to take in contributions on those evenings.
•Deputy Mayor Vic Eydt reported the DPW was busy Monday repairing an 8-inch watermain line break at North Eighth Street and Oxbow Lane – the eighth reported infrastructure disruption in the past two weeks.
The DPW has begun the process of replacing piping on North Ninth Street.
•Despite reports – and photos – of people supposedly using the new electric vehicle charging station at Academy Park, it turns out the device is not yet active.
Engineer Mike Marino said National Grid is “going to try and get that commissioned. The goal is for this week sometime, and then that should be up and running.”
Marino explained a second EV station would soon be operational on Water Street.
Last week, the Town of Lewiston agreed to finance the two EV chargers, which were priced at $6,000 apiece. Board members said they would use funding received from the New York Power Authority.
Also at the Village Board monthly meeting:
•Trustees adopted a resolution approving the Lewiston Fire Co. No. 1 volunteer firefighter service awards. The motion read:
“WHEREAS, the Village is the sponsor of a Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP) on behalf of the Lewiston Fire Company No. 1 in accordance with Article 11-A of the New York State General Municipal Law(GML); and
“WHEREAS, as required by GML § 219-a(2)(c), the Lewiston Fire Company No. 1 has submitted the attached list, certified under oath, of active members of the Fire Company, indicating those volunteers who earned at least fifty points during 2022 to qualify for service credit; and
“WHEREAS, the certification made by the Fire Company includes a statement that the points recorded on the attached list have been tabulated in accordance with the Point System adopted by the Village to be in effect during calendar year 2022, and to the best of the knowledge of the Fire Company, is a true and accurate reflection of the activities performed by the active members; and
“WHEREAS, GML § 219-a(2)(d) requires the Board of Trustees (Board) to review and approve the attached list, then return it to the Fire Company to be posted for thirty days; and
“WHEREAS, the Board has completed its review of the attached list; NOW, THEREFORE BE IT
“RESOLVED, that the Board of Trustees approves the attached list of volunteer firefighters of the Lewiston Fire Company No. 1 and the points earned by these firefighters during calendar year 2022; and be it further
“RESOLVED, that a copy of this adopted resolution and the attached list shall be returned to the Fire Company for posting for a minimum of thirty days.”
Eydt said, “This is the same as every year.”
On a related noted, trustees accepted the resignation of Lewiston Fire Co. No. 1 members Joshua Long and Eve Pacia, while adding Matthew S. Long, Sarah R. Pitts and Lawson Ingham as conditional members.
Lewiston Fire Co. No. 1 line officer appointments for 2022-23 include:
√ Chief Spencer Lilly
√ 1st Assistant Chief William McEvoy
√ 2nd Assistant Chief Chris Copland
√ 3rd Assistant EMS Chief Matthew Grainge