Gowanda has initial budget discussion

GOWANDA — As the village’s budgets get close to being final, Gowanda sees a “bare bone” spending plan that aims to boost the fund balances. The municipality projects to be off the financially stress list that has been a plague and a reminder of the economic impact of two flood events.

“We cut this down to the bare bones, bare essentials budget and I don’t think there is anywhere else to cut,” Gowanda Village Financial Advisor Andy Burr said at a recent village board meeting. “… This is a rock-solid, taxpayer friendly, bare bones budget that hopefully as time goes on, some of the pilots come on in the next couple years, we can start to loosen up a little bit.”

The taxes on the Erie County side may go to up 1.96 percent, if this budget goes final, while the Cattaraugus County section will rise 1.76 percent. Though a raise in taxes may not show positive signs immediately, Burr argues that the changes in the general fund and the contingency line will give the village stability and security.

“Basically,” Burr began, “what we are looking to accomplish: we want to minimize our tax increase, we wanted to continue to grow our fund balance, we wanted to fund some initiatives that are ongoing as far as equipment purchases and other sort of strategic initiatives.”

Burr stated that there will be a $50,000 transfer to the contingency line in the budget. Also, due to a successful and cautious year, the village looks to have financed well to have rollover into the upcoming budget.

“In the current fiscal year in the general account,” Burr said, “we should have a substantial increase because everything is under budget, which is good management as far as costs utilization.”

With the changes in the general account, Burr stated the village will be off of the fiscally stressed list, where Gowanda, without pleasure, has been near the top of the charts.

The official budget presentation has not been announced. More information will come when they are announced.

“Very rarely would I say this about the budget, but as far as the general account goes, we have scaled back so dramatically over the last three years with cuts to stop the bleeding that I don’t think there is a lot to cut except $10,000 out of a whole $1.6 million budget,” Burr said.

The Gowanda Village Board will meet on March 13 at the village hall. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m.

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