Fredonia approves budget with tax hike

Fredonia’s tax increase is finalized.

The village Board of Trustees approved a 2024-25 budget by a 4-1 vote Monday. The budget calls for a tax levy of $39.25 per $1,000 of assessed property, a 5.85% increase in the rate.

Trustee Michelle Twichell was the lone no vote. “I am not in favor of passing this budget,” she said. “I did bring up several items we could be looking at to reduce the budget even further.”

Trustees also voted Monday, by the same 4-1 count, to reverse the village’s policy of keeping 15% to 25% of revenues as fund balance. The low end of the scale was cut to 10%. According to the resolution passed by trustees, the policy will be reviewed on an annual basis.

Fredonia had to pass a local law overriding the state’s tax cap in order to approve its budget. That law also went through, 4-1, Twichell opposing.

Additionally, there was no public comment on the budget at Monday’s meeting because Mayor Michael Ferguson cut that portion of the meeting.

Ferguson suggested last week he would halt the comments, but said it would only concern talk about the village’s water situation. “Per our instructions by our attorney,” he said Monday, there wouldn’t be any comments session at all.

Ferguson blamed the lawsuit filed by five village residents, seeking an injunction against a Dec. 26 resolution by trustees to draw down the reservoir, shut the treatment plant and acquire water from Dunkirk.

“Once there is a decision there, we will return to the public comment portion of our meetings,” Ferguson said.

A court date in the lawsuit is set for Monday. The case is before Judge Grace Hanlon in Chautauqua County State Supreme Court.

Several members of the audience gave Ferguson a hard time about the ban on speaking as Monday’s meeting ended. The mayor responded that one of them was not even a village resident. He also denied a claim that he and trustees were all getting pay raises.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today