Town of Westfield Tentative Budget Includes Spending Cuts, Lower Tax Rate
Town Supervisor Martha Bills presented the 2010 Tentative Town Budget to the public at the October 7th meeting of the Westfield Town Board. In the tentative budget a $35,000 estimated drop in revenue is offset by a cut in appropriations of $103, 779 and a $31,000 transfer from the fund balance. The resulting tax levy of $735,491 is down nearly $38,000 from last year, translating into a tax rate for Town residents of $2.75 per $1,000 of assessed valuation and a tax rate of $2.57 for Village residents. The Town tax rate is down 2.5% from last year’s rate and the Village rate is down 1.5%.
Bills’ tentative budget will be reviewed by Town Board members over the course of the next few weeks and a public hearing on the resulting proposed budget will be held on Wednesday, November 4th at 7:20 pm in Eason Hall.
“We’ve worked very hard and consistently throughout the year to find creative ways keep costs down while still providing needed services to taxpayers,” said Bills. “It’s really been a team effort.” Bills commended the work of the Town’s department heads and staff and noted that departments are working to hold the line on costs and explore all opportunities to reduce costs through shared services.
Town Board member David Brown noted that the tax rate reductions continue a seven year trend. Town tax rates for Village residents, explained Brown, have fallen every year for the past seven years. While there have been some years of flat tax rates for Town residents, there is still a similar downward trend over the same period of time.
Board member Ray Schuster added that new construction projects have helped to bolster the Town’s total assessments, with some residential growth and constructions projects planned at two wineries, Johnson Estate and Noble.
An integral part of the budget review process involves presentations by community organizations, such as the Patterson Library, who receive some funding from the Town. Bills noted that the direct benefit of the Town’s support is evident. “We allocate some money to these community organizations and they’ve taken it and really made things happen,” says Bills.
In other business, Bills announced that the Town has been awarded two grants which will foster the implementation of the Lakefront Plan. The Town is preparing a work plan for a $20,000 streetscape grant for First Street in Barcelona. A second grant will help with improvements at the Dan Reid Pier.
Bills noted that the grants are one more step in an ongoing effort to implement improvements that have been established through a collaborative planning process involving residents, business owners and the community at large.