WHEATFIELD - Krueger Road resident Deborah Fadel told the Town Board on Monday that she gathered 662 signatures from neighbors on a petition that calls for installing a new sidewalk on the road.
Residents have been demanding safety improvements since a 16-year-old pedestrian, Ryan Fischer, was killed by a hit-and-run driver on Krueger Road in November 2014.
"People are very, very supportive. They feel our street is very unsafe, and something needs to be done," Fadel said.
Fadel said she mentioned to the signers they may have to pay extra taxes to cover the local share of the cost of installing a sidewalk.
The Town Board voted Oct. 3 to submit a $945,000 grant request to the state Department of Transportation to pay for a five-foot-wide sidewalk on the south side of the road. However, its terms require a 20 percent local match, or $189,000.
That's the amount the town would have to raise in taxes, perhaps by creating a special district in the Krueger Road area, although the town also could choose to spread the expense over all properties in Wheatfield. Supervisor Robert B. Cliffe has said he doesn't want to do that.
Fadel and Kelly Dueger, Ryan's stepmother, said the local share equals $14 per home per year if the cost is spread out over 20 years. "We're irritated that we would have to form a special district for safety," Dueger said.
However, Budget Director Edward Mongold questioned that math. "That would only cover the principal, not the interest," he said. Thus, the actual cost for each homeowner would be more, but how much more can't be determined until the interest rate on a possible bond issue is known.
Grants consultant Bernie Rotella said he doesn't expect a response from the DOT to the grant application until next spring.
Fadel also requested Monday that two additional 30 mph speed limit signs be posted on Krueger Road, saying the two already posted aren't sufficient. The Town Board took no action.
On another topic, the board approved a batch of small cuts in the proposed 2017 town budget, which Mongold said would produce a 25-cent reduction in the average homeowner's tax bill, instead of the 5-cent reduction in the original version. The bill for the owner of a house assessed at $125,000 would be $487.22.
The board scheduled a public hearing on the $12.87 million budget for 7 p.m. Nov. 7, and Cliffe said the board could vote on it that night.
The tax levy, the total amount to be collected in taxes, is to rise 0.63 percent, Mongold said. That slips it under the state-mandated tax cap of 0.68 percent. The town is using $1.1 million in appropriated surplus to balance the budget instead of raising taxes further.