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Tonawanda raises taxes for town homeowners by 1 percent in budget plan

The typical homeowner in the Town of Tonawanda would pay an extra $13.54 next year under the town supervisor's 2019 budget plan.

Town Supervisor Joseph Emminger said in his budget message that the town continues to wrestle with the effects of the 2016 closing of NRG Energy's Huntley Generating Station, once the town's largest property taxpayer.

But, he said, the town strove to keep costs in check without reducing services.

There are no raises for town officials in the budget plan and the town by the end of next year would cut 10 positions through attrition instead of layoffs, Emminger said.

Overall spending would fall from $102 million to $101.6 million next year, or 0.4 percent. For the first time in 20 years, the cost of providing hospital and medical insurance to town employees, retired employees and their families would fall. The drop is minimal —  just under $90,000 — and the benefit still would cost the town $19 million next year.

The 2019 proposed tax levy — the amount to be collected in property taxes — is $47.6 million, an increase of 1.95 percent from 2018. That's well below the state tax cap of 3.03 percent.

With the town's equalization rate of 37 percent, the average home in Tonawanda has an assessed value of $50,000. The owners of that home would see their taxes rise 1 percent, from $1,338.61 this year to $1,352.15 next year.

This year's proposed increase of $13.54 is less than half the $29 increase the average homeowner paid the year before.

The town has separate tax rates for residential and commercial property owners. The non-homestead tax rate would rise by 4.43 percent next year, although Emminger said this follows three years of decreases for commercial property owners.

The Town Board will hold a public hearing on the budget proposal at its Nov. 8 meeting and is set to vote on the plan the same night.

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