West Seneca proposes 4 percent tax increase in 2019 budget

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For another year in a row, West Seneca residents could be dishing out a lot more money in taxes.

Next year’s budget proposal includes a tax increase of about 4 percent. That’s about half of the tax rate increase residents saw last year.

“After the eight percent last year, another 4 percent just seems crazy,” said Gary Dickson, West Seneca resident.

Last year Supervisor Sheila Meegan proposed a 12 percent tax hike. The town board passed a budget with a 8.6 percent tax increase.

For 2019, the supervisor is proposing making up the difference with a proposed increase of 3.95 percent.

“The town has been hit with some serious budgetary hits this year that were not budget for, like a $350,000 bill from the Buffalo Sewer Authority, we’ve been hit with several comp claims to pay up,” said Meegan.

If the almost 4 percent tax hike is approved, houses valued at $150,000 would cost a taxpayer about $45 a year or $4 dollars more a month.

“Last year people were thinking it was 12 percent on the bottom line of their tax bill. We showed this year that it’s only two lines that get affected on your tax bill, it is your general town tax and your highway tax,” said William Hanley Jr., West Seneca Councilman.

At a public hearing for the 2019 tentative budget, residents expressed their concerns about spending. They would like to see more cuts in next year’s budget.

The proposed budget includes raises for three unions, including a raise for the police chief, the  highway superintendent and the town clerk.

“The town government here, we just keep adding and adding and adding positions, we do nothing, we give out raises to department heads, we do absolutely nothing to cut back. There’s no reason for this 4 percent tax increase whatsoever, it’s a lack of leadership and management on the board’s part,” said Jeff Piekarec, West Seneca resident.

Many homeowners fear what will happen to the town long term if every year they are hit with another big tax increase.

“It’s unsustainable, maybe we’re not going to crash in five years, maybe we’re not going to crash in 10 years, but it’s definitely coming, the town cannot put up with these constant tax increases,” said Dickson.

The amended budget is due no later than November 20.

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