Kenmore Mayor John W. Beaumont said intensive work was done to reduce the tax rate increase to 8.45 percent in his proposed spending plan for next year. The increase was originally 9.8 percent.
The effort to lower the tax burden on residents includes cuts to budgetary requests from various departments for next year, few pay raises and not filling two vacant positions, he said.
"As times get tougher, we have to get leaner and meaner," Beaumont said.
A public hearing on the proposed budget is scheduled for 8 p.m. Tuesday in Council Chambers of the Municipal Building, 2919 Delaware Ave.
Beaumont described the budget process as one of the most difficult in his career because of increased costs for employees' health insurance, retirement contributions, fire liability insurance and workers compensation.
For example, he said, health care costs are up 26 percent from this year.
"These items are really digging into the budget," he said. "But we are trying to be respectful of the taxpayers."
In the same vein, Beaumont said, the village wants to maintain the same level of services and quality of life. The budget does include $600,000 for the resurfacing of eight streets.
The $13.1 million budget is 1.85 percent higher than the current one. The tax rate would rise to $21.83 from $20.13 per $1,000 of assessed valuation for residential properties. The non-homestead rate would go from $34.14 to $37.13.
For the owner of a home assessed at about $48,000 -- the average in the village -- the increase amounts to $81.60 per year, Beaumont said. The tax levy should generate $6.7 million.
Village Trustee Patrick Mang described the plan as "responsible."
"It was not a fun process; we knew we are going to have these mandated costs," Mang said. "We looked to cut but keep the same services residents are accustomed to -- fine police and fire services. It's a very responsible budget, and I feel good about it."
The budget includes no salary increases for elected officials, whose last raise was in 1987.