People’s Column

Area tracks

need repairs

Editor, OBSERVER:

I read in the paper that $1.3 million was granted for improvements of rail tracks in Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties. Please include the double tracks on Van Buren Road. Crossing is in terrible shape.

MARY ANN

NORDSTROM,

Van Buren Point

Budget is

board vote

Editor, OBSERVER:

In a Dec. 2 letter, a writer correctly makes the point that town of Pomfret residents living outside the village of Fredonia pay twice the town property tax rate that village of Fredonia residents pay. However, he does not indicate that village of Fredonia residents pay property tax to the village as well as the town to achieve essentially identical services, regardless of whether living in the village or the town outside the village.

The New York state Office of the Comptroller requires New York state towns with included villages to have at least four budgets; 1) town general fund within a village; 2) town general fund outside a village; 3) town highway fund within a village; and 4) town highway fund outside a village. Cities are not subject to town budgets, regardless of whether included within a town. Some villages are included within two abutting towns (for example, Sinclairville) and within two abutting counties (for example, Gowanda).

Either directly or through contract, New York state villages and towns both provide law courts, vital records services, animal control services, police and fire services, public works, parks, and libraries. They may provide water and wastewater services, although these are separate funds with income based on individual household usage. Other services may be provided.

The writer implies that the town supervisor alone decides what the tax rate will be. However, the members of Town Board are involved as well.

The town supervisor proposes a budget and then the members of board debate and modify it over two months. Finally, the supervisor and Town Board members vote to accept or reject the budget and tax rate.

The village of Fredonia mayor proposes a budget and the village trustees debate and modify it over two months. Finally, the trustees — not the mayor — vote to accept or reject the budget and tax rate.

MICHAEL C. BARRIS, Ph.D.,

village trustee,

Fredonia

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