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Police pay, community center drive tax hike in Orchard Park

Paying for police – including raises and increases in pension costs – and for the new community center are two big reasons taxes will go up in Orchard Park next year.

The tax levy, or total amount to be raised by taxes, will increase 8.5 percent, while tax rates also will increase.

"It's hard to keep the tax increase at zero," Supervisor Patrick Keem said.

Town Board members did cut one of two new positions that had been proposed in the water and sewer departments, and cut in half the amount spent on part-time summer workers in the engineering department. The board also used $188,000 from the tax stabilization fund to further reduce the tax hike, although the the 2019 budget still goes over the tax cap.

Spending is up 9 percent in the $35.25 million budget, which includes an additional $583,000 for raises for police officers, who had been working without a new contract for five years, and another $200,000 for police pension payments, Keem said. That also includes nearly $500,000 to pay for borrowing for the new community activities center, he added.

The supervisor said residents understand that the town is starting and completing projects that had been talked about for years, including replacing the Green Lake dam and constructing the community center.

Orchard Park community center will cost at least 30 percent more

"I think residents can see in Orchard Park what is going on, all the changes," Keem said.

Councilman Michael Sherry was the only board member to vote against the budget. He said he disagreed with giving elected officials a 2 percent raise, since they got raises last year. He also said he was concerned that taxes were reduced by using money from the tax stabilization fund.

"I’m opposed to pushing things down the line. I feel that's done too much by boards," he said. "I didn’t feel that was the way to go."

The tax rate for residents living outside the village will be $7.21 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, up 5.7 percent. Village residents will pay $7.35 per $1,000, up 8 percent. But the average tax bill will go up less than $72 for the year. The bill for the average home with a market value of $250,000 will go up $71.50 for the year for those living in the Village of Orchard Park, and $50.70 for the year for those outside the village.


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