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Kenmore State of Village: Doing more with less

The last time the mayor and trustees in Kenmore got a raise was 30 years ago, Mayor Patrick Mang pointed out in his State of the Village address Thursday.

Kenmore is the largest village in Western New York (population 15,143), offers its own police and fire department and department of public works, which is more than some small cities.

Mang oversees a budget of $18.5 million.

He told the Kenmore Merchants Association that he and village trustees -- all part-time -- have frozen their salaries for another consecutive year. The mayor's salary is $13,000, and trustees earn $7,500 in the role.

"We really truly care about the village," Mang said, after he presented his address to the business group in an event at Gigi's Restaurant.

He said departments have had virtually no increases in their budgets since 2001, or nearly 16 years. With the average home in Kenmore assessed at $50,000, the 2017-18 tax increase is about $50 per year, an increase of 2 percent.

"And with unfunded mandates, each department is truly doing more with less," Mang said.

He made these points:

  • The village needs to continue investing in the infrastructure of the oldest Buffalo suburb, noting tax exemption legislation  has led to the redevelopment of the former Washington School, being converted for mixed use, the former St. Paul's School and previously vacant Masonic Lodge, which are both being developed into apartments.
  • The village started a recycling program and distributed 7,000 recycling totes to replace the blue bins. "The positive response has been overwhelming," he said.
  • Most of the work on the Elmwood Streetscape Project, which addressed the east side of Elmwood Avenue, has been completed, with new sidewalks, ADA compliant curb cuts and restored green space.
  • In 2018, the Village will begin Phase II of the streetscape project to improve the west side of Elmwood. Both projects are funded by state grants.
  • The Kenmore Police Department has a 1.8-minute response time, the fastest in Erie County. The fire department has 25 officers, 11 part-time dispatchers and five crossing guards and responded to 12,825 calls in 2017. The police department also offers a Citizen Police Academy. The Kenmore Fire Department, a mix of paid and volunteer firefighters, responded to 1,249 calls this past year.
  • The Department of Public Works planted 125 trees, but also had to remove 200 ash trees, due to invasive beetles.
  • The village's winter parking ban as been delayed until Dec. 1. Once again, free parking will occur on Delaware Avenue in December.

The Kenmore Merchants Association noted Thursday that their group will be renaming itself the Kenmore Business Association, beginning Jan. 1.

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