NT avoids tax increase with $1.7 million from fund balance; sewer, water rates staying flat
Property taxes as well as sewer and water rates are staying flat in the city, said North Tonawanda Mayor Arthur Pappas — center in photo — at Tuesday’s common council work session.
“It is my intent to avoid a tax increase on our residents when other means are available to balance a budget,” Pappas. said.
“I have utilized $1.73 million in undesignated fund balance to close the budget gap and balance the General Fund budget,” he said. The fund balance still has $2,640,551, said Pappas’ administrative assistant Peter Drossos.
“This budget holds the line on property taxes and reduces spending while still providing the necessary funding to deliver City services in the most cost efficient manner our citizens expect,” Pappas said.
“In accordance with Section 5.021 of the North Tonawanda City Charter, as Mayor, I am providing to the Common Council, for their review and adoption, a copy of my General, Water, Sewer, and Capital Fund Budgets for fiscal year 2017. Continuing our work on behalf of North Tonawanda taxpayers, this budget keeps North Tonawanda moving forward.”
“The General Fund budget reflects no property tax increase for 2017. This freezes the current rate of $13.25 per $1,000 dollars of assessed valuation. The water and sewer user rates also remain unchanged. I have utilized $1.73 million in undesignated fund balance to close the budget gap and balance the General Fund budget. Many tough decisions were made by this administration in producing a fiscally sound budget that is prudent for our residents. It is my intent to avoid a tax increase on our residents when other means are available to balance a budget. With that said; the General Fund appropriations for 2017 are $28,209 less than the 2016 adopted budget.”
Alderman Donna Braun and Cathy Schwandt said they were going to look through the budget line by line.
“This budget provides fundamental public services at a reasonable cost to our residents. As this budget holds the line on property taxes, it also shows a commitment to public safety and maintenance and improvements of public infrastructure. My 2017 Capital Budget includes funding for street and sidewalk repair in addition to proposed facility improvements for our Water and Wastewater treatment plants. Repairing our city streets is one of my priorities. In addition to the $900,000 the City anticipates receiving from New York State through the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program; I have appropriated an additional $300,000 for a total of $1.2 million going into road and sidewalk improvement. The City is committed in continuing the effort to improve upon this critical and noticeable infrastructure. Continuing, I have also allocated $75,000 for additional recycling totes for our residents. Our City is continuing to improve upon the recycling efforts over the past several years, and this administration will continue to improve upon the efforts in promoting a cleaner and healthier environment.”
“An important part of any municipal budget is public safety. It is important we continue to provide our public safety personnel with the equipment necessary to protect themselves and safeguard our city. For our Fire Department, I have included $350,000 in capital funding to replace Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) gear which is required for the safety of our firefighters. In addition, the City will match an amount of $100,000 received through the Office of New York State Senator Ortt. These funds will be used to replace an aged Rescue vehicle allowing a more reliable emergency response to emergencies throughout the City.”
“This budget shows our commitment to provide the necessary services and protection our community should expect, without increasing taxes. Serving the taxpayers of North Tonawanda and helping our City to continue progressing is my goal. Our duty as elected officials is to provide basic services in an efficient and cost effective manner by ensuring your money is spent wisely and appropriately. I believe this budget accomplishes this mission.”
“Again, I am proud of the work we have done together. I want to thank all City department heads and their staff for the important part they played in the formulation of this Budget. I would like to take this opportunity to offer to meet with the Common Council to discuss and work with them to finalize the 2017 Budget, as a cooperative effort, at their workshop sessions.”
“Thank you for your kind consideration of my 2017 Budget,” said Pappas.