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Newstead’s proposed budget stays just under tax cap

A public hearing on the Town of Newstead budget for 2016 brought out a handful of residents Monday evening, with just one resident offering comment on the proposed budget.

The board plans to vote on the budget at the next regular board meeting Nov. 9. The budget, as it stands, features a $130,000 increase in spending over 2015, to $4.9 million, while the tax rate is set to stay about the same.

According to Supervisor David L. Cummings, the proposed budget is less than $100 under the state’s tax cap. Presenting a budget under the 2 percent tax cap, which for this year was actually 0.73 percent, he said, has become increasingly difficult.

“You will see more towns in the newspapers going over what they call the 2 percent cap,” Cummings said. “We can’t stay under it and sustain services to the people.”

Cummings pointed to the use of fund balance as why the town is able to stay under the cap this year.

“We’re using up fund balance just like every other town,” he said. “There are some major towns … that are going to go over.”

Nice Road resident John Ross asked whether any new equipment was being purchased in the highway portion of the budget and, if so, that the town consider leasing equipment rather than purchasing it.

“I think it would definitely be cheaper for us,” Ross said.

The town is looking at purchasing a boom mower, Highway Superintendent Michael C. Bassanello said.

Cummings said the town does look into leasing equipment, but has received a decent return on equipment in the past. “It’s certainly an option to look at,” he said.

Councilman Justin M. Rooney commended Cummings for putting the budget together under difficult circumstances.

“Even though I try to modify it, it’s never done out of disrespect; it’s out of my own ambition,” Rooney said. “I want to acknowledge that it’s not easy to do that, and with the other communities struggling, it’s amazing that we always seem to come in under the cap.”

The board will discuss any changes to the budget at the next work session at 7 p.m. Monday in Town Hall, 5 Clarence Center Road, Akron.