Spending in the Town of Orchard Park would go up more than $1 million under the tentative 2018 budget, due mainly to the rising cost of employee benefits, staff additions and debt. There also would be a slight increase in taxes.
The total amount to be raised by taxes in all funds would increase $248,620 or 1.7 percent. Residents living outside the village would pay $6.38 per $1,000 of assessed value, up 1.6 percent. The rate for village residents was not available.
"You don’t want to raise taxes, they're too high now, but costs are going up," Supervisor Patrick Keem said. "Everything's going up, but you're not supposed to raise taxes."
Spending is up $1.07 million, or 4.29 percent, to $26.02 million.
Keem said the increased spending includes $100,000 for the salary and benefits for a new police officer, $250,000 for increases in health care and retirement payments and about $500,000 in new debt from improvements made to Town Hall facilities, roads and Green Lake. He said the town also will spend about $100,000 more because of the increase in the minimum wage and the subsequent raises to others who are currently near the new minimum wage.
Several elected officials, including the supervisor, are in for hefty raises.
The supervisor's salary, which has not been increased since 2006, would go up 12.68 percent to $79,735. Keem said the new salary includes an increase of about 1 percent a year. He said if the salary was based on the actual cost of living, it would be about $85,000.
"I think it's a good value for taxpayers," he said.
Keem said Town Board members looked at the average salary of similar officials in other towns to come up with the pay for other elected officials. The two councilmen's salaries would increase 8 percent to $21,167 and the clerk's salary would increase to $66,895. The clerk also receives a $4,000 stipend for records management and $4,000 for being the registrar of vital statistics.
The highway superintendent would get a 1.7 percent raise to $75,568. He also receives $11,900 for being parks superintendent and $5,000 for being composting superintendent. The town justices would receive $46,382, a 1.96 percent increase.