Batavia Town Supervisor Gregory Post says he sees three positives in the municipality’s 2018 budget, a $5,052,614 spending plan that was adopted tonight at the Town Board’s monthly meeting at the Town Hall on West Main Street Road.
“We’re reducing overall spending, we’re keeping the taxes flat and we’re maintaining steady growth,” Post said following the meeting.
Post was pleased to report that the tax rate will remain the same as 2017 -- $2.64 per thousand of assessed valuation – although the amount to be raised by taxes increased slightly from $1,000,000 to $1,008,000.
For a town resident with a home assessed at $90,000, the yearly tax bill will be $237.60.
Overall spending in this year’s budget, including general and highway funds, goes down slightly from the $5,140,462 figure in 2017.
“(The final budget) is pretty consistent from the preliminary budget, and we may see an additional uptick in revenue – north of $6,000,” Post said, noting that final revenue numbers won’t be available until after the first of the year.
However, he said he is apprehensive of what will come from negotiations with Genesee County on the sales tax agreement, hoping that the share to the Town doesn’t decrease.
The supervisor praised the Town’s staff for “being pretty efficient" -- "most of the employees wear two to three hats,” he said -- and touted the Town’s efforts in attracting “millions of dollars in grant funding” to create opportunities for economic development.
“We’re also seeing some of the PILOTS (payments in lieu of taxes) coming off properties,” he said. “On one parcel (where the PILOT ended) we made an additional $48,000, which could stabilize and perhaps offset (any loss in sales tax revenue)."
He also pointed to the board’s decision to take out a five-year bond to finance a new nine-ton excavator from Admar Supply Co., based in Buffalo, as a fiscally prudent move. Admar submitted the lowest of four bids -- $102,687.
“Rental costs have been going up,” Post said, “so we felt that purchasing one with the use of serial bonds would be the best way to go. Now, when we need it, we have it (instead of using a neighboring town’s excavator).”
The board also appropriated $542,934 from the unexpended fund balance to keep taxes in check, up from the $475,808 that was used for the 2017 budget.
Post said the Batavia Fire District tax rate is expected to remain the same as last year (that will be approved at the Dec. 20 meeting), and that the Town’s water and sewer rates show “single digit increases.”
The base residential water rate for May 2018 to February 2019 is set at $5.36 per thousand gallons and the agricultural water rate for the same period is $3.87 per thousand gallons. The sewer rate is $6.68 per thousand gallons for one year beginning Jan. 1, 2018.
In other developments, the board:
-- Signed on to an agreement with the Town of Alabama to operate and maintain that municipality's water distribution, a 255,000 linear feet system that essentially covers the entire town.
-- Approved a contract with New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal for $65,516.04 to provide health insurance coverage for one year, starting on Nov. 27. The cost includes cyber coverage.
-- Authorized payment of $1 for an easement on Call Parkway for the contractor of the new Mercy Flight building to install 450 feet of water main.
-- Voted to buy of a new 10-foot snow pusher blade from George & Swede Sales & Services of Pavilion for $2,245, agreeing to trade a 96” HLA front-end loader bucket in the deal.
-- Approved a three-year commitment at $10,000 per year to CY Farms for the latter’s development, operation and maintenance of the Batavia Sports Park soccer fields on Bank Street Road, and the funding of four summer youth recreation programs for 2018: City of Batavia ($3,442), Oakfield-Alabama ($997), Elba ($906) and Byron-Bergen ($906).
-- Accepted two property donations to benefit the Ellicott Trail pedestrian/bicycle project – one from Oakwood Hills LLC off East Main Street Road to relinquish abandoned railroad land and the other from Ellicott Station LLC.