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Board OKs $2.7 million budget with no tax increase

Village property owners will see no increase in their tax rate after the Village Board on Monday adopted a $2.7 million budget.

The budget carries a tax rate of $32.73 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, the same rate as this year.

To keep the tax rate stable, the board trimmed expenses from the preliminary budget and decided to use 39.5 percent of the general fund's unreserved fund balance to balance the budget, according to Mayor Stephen Keefe.

Village water rates will increase 20 cents per 1,000 gallons used to help fund infrastructure upgrades on Holmes Place and Newton Street. Expenses reportedly exceed revenues in the village's sewer fund, yet there will be no sewer rate increase in the coming year. The sewer rate will remain at $3.15 per 1,000 gallons. Keefe said 62.7 percent of that fund's unreserved fund balance will be used to balance that budget and stabilize the sewer rates.

"It's not a pretty picture for the upcoming year," Keefe said.

A public hearing is set for 7:30 p.m. May 14 in Village Hall to consider the question of the increased metered water rates within the village. The new rates, including the 20-cent increase, are: $2.92 per 1,000 gallons for 1,000 to 100,000 gallons used; and $2.77 per 1,000 gallons for more than 100,000 gallons.

In other business:

*A workshop to address pedestrian safety, open to all village residents and business owners, is scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. today in the second-floor boardroom of Village Hall.

Lisa Schmidtfrerick-Miller, consultant for the Chautauqua County Health Network, spoke with Keefe and Fredonia Police Chief Brad Meyers recently to discuss street and pedestrian safety in the village.

The meeting was initiated after a vehicle/pedestrian accident on Route 20 in the village. Meyers reported that there have been 31 vehicle/pedestrian accidents in the past 11 years. He said 15 of them were caused by pedestrians not following proper crossing procedures, and in 16 cases the driver of a vehicle was at fault.

Keefe said Schmidtfrerick-Miller has volunteered to lead tonight's workshop.