LEWISTON – The Village Board proposed a $3.3 million budget for 2014-2015 that will raise village taxes from the current $7.12 per $1,000 to $7.26 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, an increase of 14 cents.
“We cut just about every area you could think of. We cut all the fat out; unfortunately, we still had to raise taxes,” said Mayor Terry C. Collesano.
The tax increase falls below the state-mandated 2 percent budget cap and noted that the average home assessed at $150,000 will see a village tax increase of $21 per year, Collesano said.
He blasted state leaders who have asked towns, villages and cities to hold the line on taxes while they pile on more unfunded mandates.
“While we are holding back and staying very lean, the state continues giving their mandates on top of our other obligations,” Collesano said. “New York State retirement, workers’ compensation, FICA, hospitalization – all have gone up nine percent.”
He said they are trying to take care of residents while providing a 3 percent increase to all village employees, with the exception of the mayor and board members.
Members of any other village boards that receive compensation won’t see any increases.
The village is also eliminated one summer position in the Department of Public Works.
The budget was accepted by the board, in a 4 to 0 vote, with Trustee Bruce Sutherland absent.
A public vote on the budget will be held from noon to 9 p.m. June 17 in Village Hall, 145 N. Fourth St.
In another matter, in a 3-1 vote with Collesano opposing and Sutherland absent, a special-use permit in an R-2 residential zone was granted on 400 Plain St. to operate the Niagara Marketplace, a specialty health market and cafe with indoor/outdoor seating.
The business will not serve alcohol.
The cafe, which will serve vegetarian fare, will be operated by Dominick Muto, his daughter Rose and brother-in-law Paul Licata.