Yates officials say town has controlled costs while maintaining services for the community

Posted 6 September 2023 at 9:26 am


We read, with interest, Mr. Lauricella’s letter to the editor regarding his least favorite months of the year, September and January.

In his editorial, Mr. Lauricella states that, “They [taxes] have been on the steady up creep for the last 3 or 4 years.”  In another passage, he says, “I want to remind both boards that staying within the tax cap is not and should never be the measure that is used for a successful budget.”  He also includes a confusing statement about the Super Bowl. Lastly, Mr. Lauricella seems to indicate that the Yates Town Board as well as the Lyndonville School Board, are “fleecing…” the taxpayers.

To let the Hub readers decide for themselves whether we are prudent stewards of the taxpayers hard-earned money, we offer the following:

From 2021-2023, the Town “Inside Village” tax rate was either flat or decreased each year (2021 = 3.66, 2022 = 3.55, 2023 = 3.66).  And while the Town “Outside Village” tax rate has increased 2% per year (2021 = 4.83, 2022 = 4.93, 2023 = 5.03), the combined tax rate increase each year averaged below 2%.

Keep in mind, in those same years, the inflation rate has increased, on average, over 5% per year. Since Town Boards are elected to provide core services, would it make sense for the Town to increase the budget by 5%? Definitely not! We made prudent decisions to keep quality services at a sustainable cost – the true, “measure…for a successful budget.”

And in answer to Mr. Lauricella’s question, “Is there no discipline when it comes to spending?” Yes, there is!  One example: the Yates Town Board has voted eight years in a row to freeze the board members’ and the supervisor’s pay.

Mr. Lauricella might also remember some additional fiscal accomplishments of the Yates Town Board in recent years:

We worked closely with town departments to publish the first-ever Town of Yates 5-Year Financial Plan which captures short-term funding goals and long-term fiscal vision.

We nearly doubled the Town’s portion of the underfunded Lyndonville Fire Company budget over six years, and we worked with the fire company and the village to establish the Joint Fire District.

We competed for and were awarded a $2,531,000 NYS REDI Grant for a comprehensive upgrade to the Yates Town Park to include a new pavilion, pier, kayak launch and handicap-accessible playground.

Meanwhile, the Yates Town Board is exploring the idea of a biodigester for farmers (unanimously supported by the local Farm Bureau), working to purchase a new snowplow using maximum leveraging of state funds, and expanding the Summer Youth Recreation Program.

By the way, personally, we believe that the months of September and January are a wonderful part of God’s creation.  From the beautiful fall colors through Thanksgiving, to Christmas and each new year, we are blessed!  The Super Bowl is OK too, even if the Bills aren’t in it!

Go Bills!

John Riggi, Susan Hrovat, Harold Suhr, Terry Chaffee Jr. and Jim Simon

Yates Town Board