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Akron mayor expects the tax rate will remain unchanged at $5.87

Akron Mayor Carl Patterson gave the Village Board brief updates Monday on several ongoing projects, including the "final stages" of budget preparations for next year.

"We are on track to hold the tax rate firm," said Patterson, noting a new budget must be adopted by May 1. The new fiscal year begins June 1.

The current property tax rate is $5.87 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. There are separate charges for sewer, water, electric and trash collection.

The sewer rate is expected to rise 75 cents, to $5.75 per 1,000 gallons. The other charges are expected to remain unchanged.

Patterson said it remains "a challenge" to maintain the tax rate at the current level in the face of "significant" increases in state retirement system and health insurance costs.

The village is negotiating new contracts with employees.

On health care, Patterson said: "We are presenting our employees with alternatives that will provide a high level of care while taking some costs out."

At the April 4 meeting, when Patterson was sworn in to a new term, along with Trustees Michael Middaugh and Kathryn Capan, he said the recent move to sharing services with Newstead was a cost-saving endeavor.

He cited construction of the public works complex; sharing of a code enforcement officer; the beginning of merging the village and town courts; a joint electronics recycling program, expected to run the first Saturday of each month from May through November; and a proposal for a joint emergency services committee, which would include representatives of the two municipal governments, both communities and the Newstead and Akron fire companies.

The mayor said the village has submitted comments, including some from the Akron Fire Company, to the town, which is the lead agency on the State Environmental Quality Review of the Akron Airport's plans for paving a runway and adding two hangars. That work requires a use variance from the Newstead Zoning Board of Appeals, which cannot act until the SEQR is completed.

Patterson also said that Daniel Shonn Jr., village attorney, would report at the board's May 2 meeting on a request from the Akron Jaycees for the village to take over operation of the six-acre Ron Berry Memorial Field, behind the Akron Central School complex. The mayor said the school district also "has a lot of interest in the property," which abuts its athletic fields.

Patterson also said a meeting is scheduled next week between village officials and representatives of the Erie County Highway Department on the department's preliminary proposal to create a roundabout at John Street and Bloomingdale Avenue.

Several people at the meeting, including Dan Kowalik, deputy emergency services coordinator and chief of the Akron Fire Company, expressed skepticism that there is enough room for a roundabout that could accommodate the turning radius of large trucks and school buses.

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