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Village of Williamsville board approves budget with tax hike

The Village of Williamsville will see a 8.6 percent hike in the tax levy under a $3.4 million general fund budget adopted for 2014-15.

What it means is that Williamsville residents with a home assessed at $150,000 will see their village tax bill go up about $37.20, officials said.

The Village Board unanimously approved the budget on Monday, and along with it, passed a local law calling for Williamsville to exceed the 2 percent state-mandated tax cap.

The spike in the tax levy – the amount to be raised in taxes – is directly related to costs associated with the transfer of the village water system over to the Erie County Water Authority on June 1.

“At the end of the day, had it not been for the water consolidation we would have had a 2.5 percent decrease in our tax rate,” said Williamsville Mayor Brian J. Kulpa.

The problem is that the village will now have to pay an annual hydrant fee of $45,000. In addition, another $90,000 in administrative costs that had been covered by funds from the village water system will now have to be included in the general fund.

“It doesn’t mean it was the wrong thing to do,” Kulpa said of turning over the aging and costly water system to the Water Authority.

Williamsville’s 2014-15 spending plan is up 5.6 percent to $3,417,199. Property taxes account for 48 percent of the village’s overall revenue.

A rise in some commercial values has boosted the tax base in Williamsville, softening the blow a bit for residents. The property tax rate will increase to $4.43 per $1,000 assessed valuation, up 5.79 percent from $4.28 per $1,000.

Kulpa maintains that most village residents will still see some savings, though, because of the drop in water rates that stood at $5.81 per 1,000 gallons.

The new water rates will be somewhere between $4.05 per 1,000 gallons and $4.87 per 1,000. That’s because the Water Authority is still working out the cost to upgrade the village system.

Meanwhile, there was no increase in the village sewer rate, but taxpayers will notice that a portion of the sewer charge that previously had been on the water bill will now be on the tax bill, said Village Administrator Lynda L. Juul.