Rise in Amherst’s tax base will mean a drop in town taxes - The Buffalo News

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Rise in Amherst’s tax base will mean a drop in town taxes

A spike in Amherst’s tax base will help drop town taxes a bit for most residents next year.

The town tax levy – the amount to be raised by taxes – would decrease $140,000, or less than a half percent, to $71.65 million, under a preliminary 2014 budget proposed by Supervisor Barry A. Weinstein.

But Amherst also saw its taxable assessed value grow 1.8 percent, or about $150 million, to $8.4 billion, Weinstein said.

Those two factors combined would shrink Amherst taxes about 2 percent for most residents, Weinstein said.

It works out to about $40 off the town tax bill for the average Amherst homeowner, the supervisor said.

A public hearing on the preliminary 2014 budget is scheduled for the next Town Board meeting at 7 p.m. Monday in the Amherst Municipal Building, 5583 Main St., Williamsville.

“We’re pleased we were able to lower taxes for four years in a row without diminishing any town services,” said Weinstein, who is running for re-election in November. “We’re especially pleased there have been no layoffs.”

The $117.8 million preliminary budget, however, is up more than $1.2 million – or 1 percent from this year.

Some of that increase is a reflection of state pension costs and budgeted raises associated with three settled labor-union contracts, the supervisor said.

No raises are budgeted for elected officials.

Money also is being set aside for a pending decision on police arbitration from 2011 and 2012.

The spending plan also includes a net increase of four municipal jobs, positions in the assessor’s office and planning, engineering and building departments.

The budget continues to fund 153 police department employees, Weinstein noted.

“It’s a very good budget,” said Amherst Comptroller Darlene A. Carroll. “It’s not relying on any inconceivable revenue projections.”

The town is projecting $41.5 million in revenue, up about $1.4 million from this year, Carroll said.

To help cover expenses, the budget also calls for using about $4.5 million in surplus, which is $241,000 less than the town used this year, she said.

In addition, the preliminary budget proposes capital improvements for the next several years, including $16.4 million in borrowing for 2014.

More than $9 million of that is for sewer improvements and upgrades at the town’s wastewater treatment facility, Carroll said.

The capital budget also proposes another $1 million be used for a 2,000-square-foot expansion to Amherst Town Court on John James Audubon Parkway.

The proposed budget is expected to be adopted by the board on Oct. 21.

email: jrey@buffnews.com

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