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Posted on September 16, 2013 at 11:59 AM by PattiAnn Schultz
As the Town Board continues to move forward on a new balanced budget for 2014, one of the areas we look at is increase assessments from the previous year.
The town would like to have growth which means an increase to the assessment roll which means an increase in revenue for the town to work with. Back in the early 2000’s the Town of Webster was rapidly building 250 to 300 houses a year and experiencing big jumps in assessments which allowed for no tax increases a or a small one at least.
Since 2008 the town’s growth has really slowed down just like the national economy. Since that time, we have, on average, built fewer than 100 homes per year and building permits have stayed steady at around 600 per year. In fact in 2012 we built just 54 new homes with 745 new building permits and so far this year through May we have built 22 new homes and only 257 new building permits for decks, garages, new additions and other assessment permits.
This decline in building affects the town budget by not providing revenue in the way of building permits and the growth in assessments. Some would say this is a good thing to slow down the growth here so we (and I am quoting here), “don’t look like Greece and Henrietta.” However, on the flip side of that budget, increases in areas of health care and pension need to be covered and without an increase in assessments and building permits the only other place is from the residents pocket in the way of higher taxes.
This growth in assessments not only affects the town it also affects our other taxing partners in the County, fire districts and the school district. They rely on the town increasing assessments so they themselves can use the revenues to offset their budgets.
In this year’s budget cycle the town has an increase in assessments of 22,863,834 which is up .81% over the previous year and will bring into the town over $103,000 to work with. In keeping with the topic, the Webster Central School District received over $500,000 in their last budget cycle for assessment growth from the town.
So, while I understand the no growth position of some in the town, I think the town is better served if we take the small growth approach each year and continue to stabilize our budget that way. The Town Board also feels that we do not have to build out every parcel of land available right now just to increase assessments to show that we are encouraging economic development in the community.
As always, if you should you have any questions about your town government, please feel free to contact me during regular business hours at (585) 872-7068; or email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ronald W. Nesbitt