Orchard Park budget detailed at hearing - The Buffalo News
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Orchard Park budget detailed at hearing

Increases in the Police Department account for much of the 7.54 percent increase in spending in Orchard Park’s proposed budget for 2014.

The tax rates would go up less than 2 percent, while the tax levy – the total amount to be raised by taxes – would increase by 2.3 percent. The levy is $5,000 below the tax cap for the town, said the town’s accounting consultant, Wayne Drescher.

The $22.8 million proposed budget also includes increasing the hours for a tax appraiser, code enforcement officer and animal control officer from part time to full time.

A payroll position that was added last year will continue, but the payroll manager is retiring at the end of this month and will not be replaced.

The Public Safety budget, which includes the justice court and animal control as well as Police Department, would go up a little more than $1 million, or 18 percent.

Most of that is due to improvements and changes in the Police Department. The department added public safety dispatchers and a police officer.

The budget also adds more than $200,000 in overtime that had not been in recent budgets.

“It seems prudent, if we know these things are going to happen on a yearly basis, that we fund for them,” Police Chief Mark Pacholec said during a public hearing Wednesday on the budget.

He said since being appointed chief in January he has gone through past police budgets to find out how much was spent, in order to submit his first budget to the supervisor.

The budget would transfer $1.42 million from the general fund to the public safety fund. Last year, $500,000 was transferred into the public safety fund.

Drescher said high pension rates remained a big challenge in crafting the budget. The town must pay 27.6 percent of the police officer payroll and 20.1 percent of the pay of other employees to the state for the pension system.

With salaries and benefits, “70 percent of all budget appropriations are people-related,” he said.

The combined general, public safety and highway fund tax rates would be $5.96 per $1,000 of assessed valuation for those living outside the Village of Orchard Park, up 1.94 percent, and $6.30 per $1,000 for village residents, up 1.78 percent.

Village residents have a higher rate because sales tax revenue can be applied only to those living outside the village because the village receives its own sales tax, Drescher said.

The board is expected to vote on the budget next month.

email: bobrien@buffnews.com

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