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Proposed 2017 Wheatfield budget means tiny tax cut for average homeowner

WHEATFIELD – The owner of an average home in the Town of Wheatfield would pay a nickel less in property taxes next year, under a proposed 2017 budget presented to the Town Board Monday.

Budget Director Edward Mongold said the town tax bill for the owner of a home assessed at $125,000, which is typical for Wheatfield, would be $487.42, five cents less than it was this year.

The proposed budget just slips under the tax cap with an increase of 0.67 percent in the total tax levy, the amount to be collected in taxes. Wheatfield’s tax cap for 2017 is 0.68 percent. Wheatfield has no general town tax, but the tax bill includes levies for sewer, fire protection and garbage collection.

Supervisor Robert B. Cliffe called it “another good budget for Wheatfield taxpayers, but it’s not a perfect budget.”

There was pressure on the property tax side of the proposed spending plan because sales tax receipts have dropped for the second consecutive year, which Cliffe said may be unprecedented. The town budgeted a little under $4.7 million from that source this year, but Cliffe said that target won’t be met. Mongold said the shortfall is projected to be about $100,000.

Meanwhile, the personnel costs in the budget are to rise $155,000, and the cost of employee health insurance will rise $25,000. Cliffe said he also inserted $25,000 to cut down trees killed by the emerald ash borer, but he rejected requests from the Highway Department to buy a large amount of new equipment.

Cliffe said Highway Superintendent Paul A. Siegmann will have a chance to convince the board to put some of those purchases back into the spending plan. The board called a budget work session with department heads for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 12.

The budget includes 2 percent pay raises for all elected officials. Cliffe is to be paid $39,608. The councilman chosen as deputy supervisor for next year is slated to earn $18,287, while the other three councilmen will be paid $14,465 each. The two town justices will be paid $25,413 each; Siegmann’s salary will be $69,292; and Town Clerk Kathleen McDonell-Harrington is to earn $65,219.

The public hearing will be held at 7 p.m. Nov. 7, and the board could vote on the budget that night. The adoption deadline in state law is Nov. 21.


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