Mayor Essek proposes tax increase in budget
Fredonia Mayor Douglas Essek has proposed a 2023-24 village budget that would contain a 1.97% tax increase.
Essek called the proposed tax hike “reasonable” and “in line with current inflation costs,” while presenting his spending plan at Monday’s Board of Trustees meeting. The draft budget would have a tax hike from $36.18 per $1,000 of assessed valuation in the current budget to $36.95 — an increase of 77 cents.
He stated, “In addition to contractual increases every year, this year had substantial additional increases due to inflation and the cost of supplies.”
The total budget, as proposed by the mayor, is $11,419,374. That represents a $115,598 increase over the current budget. The general fund totals $7,149,822, the water fund is $2,037,087 and the sewer fund is $2,232,465.
A total of $1,363,454 was cut from the general fund over the 2022-23 budget. The water fund saw a slice of $117,000, and the sewer fund slashed $313,950.
“Unlike last year, I have not proposed using (American Rescue Plan Act) funding that we receive, to assist in balancing the budget,” Essek said. “The fund balance policy of maintaining 15 to 25% of total appropriations has been achieved.”
In Essek’s proposal, the general fund would use $125,539 of fund balance.
Essek said the water fund “is experiencing loss in revenues from a decrease in water rates charged to outside the village users. There have been also the usual contractual increases, and especially the extreme increases in the cost of materials to produce water.”
There is an operating loss of $495,087 loss budgeted for the water fund. That is supposed to be made up with fund balance.
The sewer fund “is experiencing all the same issues as the water fund,” Essek said. Its budgeted operating loss is $622,465, which would also be made up with fund balance monies.
There are no layoffs planned in Essek’s budget.
Essek closed with a reminder that his budget is just a proposal. Trustees and department heads will work to make alterations before it gets passed.