Orchard Park continues to grow, which is why taxes for property owners there next year would stay about the same or go down slightly even as the tax levy goes up.
The town's proposed tax levy increase stands at 1.24 percent, which is above the tax cap of 0.68 percent, but Town Board members are determined to get the levy within the cap before approving the final budget.
The tentative tax rate is $6.21 per $1,000 of assessed valuation for residents outside the Village of Orchard Park, up about 2 cents. The rate for village property owners would be $6.38 per $1,000, down about a penny. As the board shaves down the tax levy, or total amount to be raised by taxes, the tax rates also would come down.
Taxpayers are getting some relief because of an increase in the town's assessed valuation, which grew about 1.23 percent. Because of that, tax rates should mirror this year's taxes, Councilman Michael Sherry said.
Under the proposed budget, spending would go up 3.94 percent, or $952,575, to $25.1 million.
Sherry said the major drivers of the increase are:
- $300,000 in additional debt payments for Green Lake cleanup, roads, sewer, Town Hall parking lot and other projects.
- $250,000 in additional employee and retiree health care insurance due to a 9.9 percent rate increase.
- $300,000 in additional public safety costs due primarily an additional police officer, new contract with dispatchers and additional overtime costs associated with special events.
Town Board members are not taking any raises, but the budget does include a 2 percent raise for the highway superintendent, bringing the salary for that post to $74,259. The highway superintendent also would get an 11 percent bump in the stipend for being composting superintendent, to $5,000. He also serves as parks superintendent, which carries a stipend of $11,900.
Other salaries that would change include those of the town clerk, $61,212, up 2 percent, and town justices, $45,472, up 1.3 percent.