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Small drop in Williamsville village tax rate in proposed 2016-17 budget

Williamsville trustees have proposed a $3.52 million budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year that would reduce the general fund tax rate to $4.40 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, a drop of 10 cents per $1,000 from last year.

According to Mayor Brian J. Kulpa, the 2.24 percent decrease was made possible by a 1.21 percent increase in property tax revenues, resulting largely from increased assessments on some prominent business properties in the village, such as the Williamsville Commons building at 5500 Main St., in which new owners have made significant improvements to their properties.

“We’ve had a number of properties change hands to people who are kind of betting on the village. They see a good future for their buildings, and that doesn’t even count the Mill, which won’t return to the tax rolls until next year. We’re seeing a strong rise in commercial property values on Main Street,” Kulpa said Thursday.

The increased commercial property values help drive the rate down for residential property owners, he added.

The total amount of revenues that would be raised by the tax levy is $1,681,788, up 1.2 percent from $1,661,745.

In the mayor’s budget statement, he said the 2 percent property tax cap imposed by the state afforded the village an increase of only 0.12 percent over last year’s tax levy.

“Fortunately, we did not use the entire allowable levy in prior years, and had an additional amount of $31,830 available for use in the 2016-17 budget,” Kulpa wrote.

The village will not be overriding the property tax cap in the 2016-17 fiscal year which, he said, will result in residents receiving a tax rebate under the Property Tax Freeze this year.

Kulpa noted that properties in the village that are located in Town of Amherst have not been reassessed. They have an equalization rate of only 97 percent, which translates to a tax rate of $4.53 per $1,000. Properties in the village that are located in Cheektowaga have 100 percent equalization rate, so their tax rate remains at roughly $4.40 per $1,000.

“It’s actually a pretty lean budget. The biggest things that continue to (affect) us as a municipality are the growth in retirement and the growth in healthcare costs. Those are both growing faster than the rate of inflation. Those things continue to drive up budgets,” Kulpa said.

A public hearing on the budget proposal was held Monday. The Village Board may consider adopting a budget at its April 25 meeting.