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Albion approves village budget with 27-cent rate increase

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 April 2015 at 12:00 am

ALBION – The Village Board approved a budget for 2015-16 that will raise the tax rate by 27 cents to $17.75 per $1,000 of assessed property.

The $6,520,094 budget includes a 1.5 percent tax increase, raising the tax levy by $36,923 to $2,497,252. That keeps the village under the state tax cap, Mayor Dean London said.

The board and village department heads faced a 7.3 percent tax increase with a tentative budget on April 9. But the village officials shaved expenses to get the tax increase down to 1.5 percent.

The village will use $248,000 from its fund balance to help offset property taxes, which is down from the $300,000 in fund balance in 2014-15.

The village has seen the rate climb in recent years as the overall tax base of the community went down. A year ago the village lost $2.7 million in assessed value. The latest numbers show another decline, but only by $60,830. The village’s taxable value for 2015-16 will be $140,690,261, down from $140,751,091 in 2014-15.

One unresolved expense in the new budget: how much to include for a grantwriter.

Jean O’Connell and Associates from Clarence has offered to write grants for the village for a flat fee of $34,000 annually. Those could be grants for parks, water and sewer infrastructure, the fire department, police, record retention and other projects.

The board said it doesn’t have $34,000 for a grantwriter in the 2015-16 budget. Mayor London said he would see if O’Connell would spread the $34,000 fee over two village budgets to make it affordable.

In the meantime, the board last week approved $6,000 for O’Connell to write a grant for Bullard Park improvements, including a new spray park. If the village decides to go for the $34,000 contract, O’Connell has said the $6,000 for the park grant would be counted towards the $34,000.

The new budget takes effect on June 1 and the fiscal year runs until May 31.