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Board approves budget with tax hikes

Fuel costs are the only departmental spending increases in Kenmore's budget for 2012-13, the mayor says, but spending beyond the control of village lawmakers still means a hike in property tax rates.

The overall budget of almost $15.8 million was adopted Tuesday by the Village Board after a public hearing that drew no speakers. The general fund, on which the village tax rate is based, is almost $12.4 million, an increase of $296,227 from the current year.

For homeowners, the property tax rate is increasing by 75 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation to $27.24. The annual increase is approximately $38 for a home assessed at $50,000.

The nonhomestead rate is increasing by $1.81 to $47.17 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

"Once again I find myself presenting a budget which was very difficult to develop," Mayor Patrick Mang said in his budget message during Tuesday's meeting. "For the most part, we have already trimmed everything possible from the budget that we are directly responsible for.

"Increases to our budget, outside of our control, include the cost to treat our wastewater which continues to escalate," Mang continued. "In addition, the [state] Department of Environmental Conservation is requiring studies and upgrades to our system regardless of the cost to our taxpayers."

In the initial budget draft, despite maintaining the "status quo" on all village-controlled costs, "the tax increase was simply too much," Mang said.

Surplus funds again were applied toward operating costs to minimize the tax increase, he said.

The roughly $8.5 million tax levy reflects an increase that exceeds the state-imposed cap by 0.72 percent. Earlier this year, village lawmakers had voted to override that 2 percent cap.

"To have cut any more from our budget would have forced us to reduce the quality of service to our community and/or leave us without sufficient funding to address emergencies," the mayor said.

For the 25th consecutive year, elected officials won't get a raise. All departments will see their budgets cut.

"The only departmental increases made were to address the escalating cost of gasoline," the mayor said.