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Town of Lockport plans 2016 tax cut

LOCKPORT – Finance Director Kate Carter presented a proposed budget for 2016 to the Town Board Wednesday, offering lower property tax bills for all taxpayers.

The proposal offers an 8.5 percent reduction in the total town tax bill in most of the town, a drop of $59.34 in the tax bill for a home assessed at $100,000, which is roughly the average assessment in most of the town. The total town bill would be $635.83 next year, with every component going down except the refuse collection charge, which would be unchanged.

In the Carlisle Gardens and Lincoln Village subdivisions, which have their own special districts, the budget offers reductions, too. In Carlisle Gardens, the tax bill for a $110,000 home, which is the average there, would fall by $63.85. In Lincoln Village, where the average assessment is $70,000, the tax bill for a home of that value would decrease by $41.53.

“I think our taxpayers will be very happy,” said outgoing Supervisor Marc R. Smith, who is not running for re-election.

The tentative spending plan totals $15.1 million, which is a spending reduction of $126,000, or about eight-tenths of 1 percent. The town plans to appropriate $497,000 in surplus funds, which is $9,000 more than it is spending this year.

The biggest reductions are in the sewer budget, where the major drop is in debt service. The town has been paying off borrowing, and the principal payments on sewer bonds will drop from almost $1.1 million this year to $882,000 in 2016.

The budget offers 2 percent salary increases for all town officials and employees, except for members of the Teamsters Union, who haven’t reached a contract agreement with the town; they are budgeted for no raises, Smith said. Also, Town Justices Leonard G. Tilney Jr. and Cheryl A. Antkowiak will see 11.7 percent increases, from $26,868 to $30,000 a year.

Smith said the justices had been seeking reimbursements from the town for mileage and use of their personal cellphones, but he didn’t think the town should devote energy to that paperwork, so he’s proposing a larger-than-normal pay increase instead. “They are very happy,” said Councilman Mark C. Crocker, who will be supervisor next year, since he’s unopposed in the Nov. 3 election, along with the rest of the GOP slate.

Crocker will be paid $53,582 in 2016. The councilman will make $10,306 each, with the deputy supervisor’s pay being twice that; Town Clerk Nancy A. Brooks will earn $53,121; Highway Superintendent David J. Miller, $75,858; and Town Attorney Michael J. Norris, $121,367.