Declaring that previous property tax increases are not sustainable, Hamburg Supervisor James M. Shaw has come up with a tentative budget that holds the line on taxes.
Shaw, who is nearing the end of his first year in office, said there is a lot of pressure to increase spending in the town, but residents are looking for relief. He said the tax rate outside the villages went up 14 percent over the past four years, while village residents have seen their town tax rate increase a little more than 17 percent over the same period.
"The people in the town are saying look, give us a break. We can't pay a lot more than we are paying," he said.
Shaw said the tentative 2019 budget maintains all services and includes debt payments for renovations and construction at the senior community center and town libraries.
The budget saves money by hiring outside contractors for work in the zoning and planning departments, continuing the arrangement where the legal department handles more cases in house for increased pay, and removing vacant positions from the budget.
Spending is up just under 1 percent in the $47.97 million budget, and the total amount to be raised by taxes is up less than a half percent.
The tax rate for those living outside the villages would be $10.81 per $1,000 of assessed value, down 5 cents or less than half a percent. The tax rate for the Villages of Hamburg and Blasdell would be $5.08 per $1,000, down a penny.
The Town Board will meet at 10 a.m. Oct. 27 in Town Hall to discuss the budget, and changes could be made.
Shaw said the town needs financial help from New York State and Erie County in the maintenance and operation of Woodlawn Beach State Park.
"We’re hemorrhaging money at Woodlawn Beach," he said. "We can't justify losing six figures a year."
The town continues to negotiate with New York State over the operations at the park, he said.
The budget does not increase the salary for most elected officials, but the town clerk would see a $5,000 increase to $76,870.