Mayor Pappas Talks 2019 North Tonawanda Budget

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By: Brendan McDonough

Reporter for North Tonawanda

Of the many difficult decisions made by city officials in North Tonawanda, the 2019 budget is calling for a 2.9 % property tax increase.

On Tuesday, November 6th, Mayor Art Pappas gave a people a look at the spending plan. Pappas says the tax increase was a necessary part of his budget to preserve public services.

Over the past ten years there have been three budgets that contained no increase at all, three years where there was a decrease, and four years with an increase of less than 1%.

Essentially, for residents with a house valued at $100,000, there will be an increase of $38 for the year.

“None of us like to raise taxes and if anyone thinks for one minute that people get together on this council for the purpose of raising taxes, that is not true,” said Mayor Art Pappas.

The General Fund budget increases the tax rate from 13.289 per $1,000 to 13.68 per 1,000. The total budget from 2018 to 2019 is an increase of $ 831,656. The water and sewer rates will remain unchanged.

There is no doubt it was a tough year for the budget committee and Mayor. Mayor Pappas says he on several occasions sent the budget back to department heads to take another look at what they might be able to cut.

“I asked them to go over their budgets again and cut whatever unnecessary spending they could,” said Mayor Pappas, “which is not an easy thing to do. These department heads have to go back, reevaluate their expenses, and submit it again to the city accountant which only puts more on her plate.”

A big part of the problem faced by the budget committee was the massive increase of recycling where there was an increase from $5 a ton to $35 a ton. It is an expense that the city had not previously needed to budget for.

There will be no cuts to the city’s workforce and in there is also funding for street and sidewalk repair, as well as continuing to improvement to the Water and Wastewater treatment plants. $140,000 has been budgeted to update and purchase much-needed equipment at the Department of Public Works.

$220,000 has been budgeted to make improvements at the Deerfield Gold Course. Some of the continued improvements will be with the irrigation system, cart paths, equipment and sand bunkers.

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