Gaines budget trims tax rate

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 November 2013 at 12:00 am

GAINES – Residents in the town of Gaines will pay a slightly lower tax rate in 2014 after the Town Board approved a $1,327,371 budget on Tuesday.

The town will take in $570,882 in property taxes next year, the same as in 2013. Because the town’s total assessed value grew 1.9 percent, from $111.3 million to $113.4 million, the tax rate will drop.

Residents in the village of Albion who live in Gaines will pay $4.12 per $1,000 of assessed property, which is down from $4.19 in 2013. Property owners outside the village will pay a $5.26 rate, which is down from $5.37.

“We’ve pared down expenses and we’ve been conservative,” said Town Supervisor Carol Culhane.

The budget reduces spending from $1,341,647 to $1,327,371. The 2014 spending plan gives town employees 2 percent raises, except for members of the Town Board. Culhane will continue to be paid $5,500 while the four town councilman are each paid $2,800, the same pay level the past several years.

The costs for state retirement contributions, which have been escalating in recent years, will go down slightly next year. The town is also budgeting the same amount for health insurance.

Culhane said the main meeting room will be updated in 2014. The carpet will be replaced with money left over from the Bicentennial Committee.

The chairs will also be swapped out with ones that have been in storage in the basement. The windows are also being replaced with a state courts grant.

The room was painted this year as a project through the Iroquois Job Corps Center in Shelby. Culhane said all of the projects will total less than $300 in direct costs to town taxpayers.

The 2014 budget also keeps a very low fire protection rate for Gaines residents outside the village. The rate will go up from 31 cents to 36 per $1,000 of assessed property. Most of towns pay at least $1 per $1,000 of assessed property for fire protection.

The village of Albion is trying to negotiate a new contract with a higher rate for Gaines residents, Culhane said.