Public hearing set Nov. 6 on budget with tax hike
News Northtowns Bureau

Grand Island taxpayers will get a chance next month to comment on the tentative town budget that would increase the tax rate by 4.6 percent for 2003.

The Town Board on Monday evening scheduled a public hearing on the $6.6 million budget proposal for 7:30 p.m. Nov. 6 in Town Hall. The board also scheduled a budget workshop for Monday. The package, which includes general fund and highway budgets, would increase total spending by $340,000, or 5.4 percent over the current year. The combined tax rate in the tentative budget is $4.99 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, an increase of 4.6 percent over the current spending plan. The assessed value of Grand Island homes is about 62 percent of fair market value, according to Town Supervisor Peter A. McMahon.

In terms of special districts, the propsed water fund budget is $2.2 million. The recommended tax rate is $5.63 per $1,000 of land value, a decrease of 65 cents, or 10.4 percent. Water rates would remain unchanged at $3.70 per 1,000 gallons of water used.

The proposed sewer district budget is $2.3 million. The tax rate for the sewer fund is recommended at $4.71 per $1,000 of land value, a decrease of 55 cents, or 10.5 percent, from the current sewer tax rate of $5.26. Sewer rates would remain unchanged at $3.70 per 1,000 gallons of water used.

The proposed garbage fund is $715,000. The wastewater plan is proposed at $2.35 million and the lighting budget at $140,000.

Significant appropriations in the proposed general fund budget include a 2.5 percent pay raise for all town employees. Other increases include retirement-incentive buybacks of $148,481. Also, town officials estimate an increase of 15 percent in the premium for health insurance, and 20 percent for general insurance, McMahon said.