The general tax rate for Town of Lancaster residents remains essentially the same as last year in the town's tentative budget for 2009, released this week.
Tax bills would decrease or increase minimally, depending on whether homeowners live in the villages of Depew or Lancaster or in the Town of Lancaster outside the villages.
"It's a hold-the-line, status quo budget," said Town Supervisor Robert H. Giza of the proposed $27.7 million overall spending plan.
That figure is divided between a $20.9 million general budget and a $6.7 million special districts budget for garbage, lighting, fire protection and water.
A public hearing on the 2009 spending plan is expected to take place in early November. The Town Board must adopt a final budget by Nov. 20.
Giza noted that rising costs for items such as gasoline, oil and road salt have resulted in substantial increases in what Lancaster has projected for these items.
The town budgeted $80,000 for gasoline this year and has included twice that amount in its proposed 2009 spending plan.
For salt products to treat Lancaster's roadways, the total budgeted for 2008 was $125,000. Next year, that single item is budgeted at $225,000.
"What can you do?" Giza said. "Everybody's paying more for gas. We need salt. We're not spending frivolously."
Giza said the proposed 2009 budget provides funding for all the same services the town has provided in the past."
The town will need to draw $390,000 from it $1.54 million general reserve funds to help offset increased costs, said David Brown, the town's administration and finance director.
All of this amounts to a townwide general tax rate of $2.41 per $1,000 of assessed value, the same rate as Lancaster applied in its 2008 budget.
For a house assessed at $100,000 in the town outside of the villages of Lancaster and Depew, the tax bill for 2009 would go up by $31, from $926.73 to $958.44.
For a home within the Village of Lancaster assessed at $100,000, the tax bill would drop $14.29, from $598.73 to $584.
And in the Village of Depew, that same house would fetch a tax bill of $242 compared to last year's $243.
The differences among tax bills are due in part to the fact that the town provides different services to residents of its villages and town, Brown said.
On the revenue side, Brown noted that the town's interest earnings will be down sharply, from $429,000 this year to an anticipated $300,000 next year.
Sales tax and mortgage tax revenues for the town, by contrast, have remained fairly strong, he said.