Lakewood To Hold Budget Hearings

LAKEWOOD- Lakewood residents will have the chance to weigh in on the proposed village budget and zoning changes in the near future.

At a recent meeting, the Lakewood Village Board set times for several public hearings.

On April 14, the Lakewood village board will have two public hearings concerning the budget. At 6:40 p.m., there will a public hearing on the property tax override. Even though there is a proposed zero percent increase for the upcoming budget, according to Mayor David Worldemann, the board does this to protect the village from unforeseen issues in the upcoming fiscal year. The public hearing for the 2014-15 budget is scheduled at 6:45 p.m.

The mayor’s proposal recommends a tax rate of $7.48 per thousand as compared to the present tax rate of $7.53 per thousand.

The total appropriations are $3,367,171, an increase of $101,109 over the prior year’s spending. The spending increase includes two items totaling $78,462, which are reimbursed by the state but must be shown as expenditures in the budget. They are offset on the revenue side, thereby holding the taxpayers harmless. These items are the K-9 unit ($59,782) and CHIPS funding ($18,680).

The rest of the increase is due mainly to a $15,000 increase in liability insurance, a projected $24,000 increase in health insurance premiums and a $3,000 increase in county-mandated workmen’s compensation costs.

The tax levy – the amount collected in property taxes – remained basically flat going from $1,705,355 to $1,705,599.

The board was able to avoid a tax increase due to the state not increasing the pension payment this year. While the numbers are still only an estimate, for the last three years the state increased the payment by $150,000.

The local law to establish rules and regulations concerning short-term rentals will be on April 28 at 6:45 p.m. Currently, the policy is molded after Bemus Point’s, and would not change the zoning law. It would, however, modify zoning districts, including an overlay for a historic district that will prohibit short-term rentals. This historic district would run from Park Lane to Oakland Avenue.

In other news, the board authorized Treasurer Andrea Windoft to do several transactions in terms of the budget. These include: transferring $1,375 from the general fund savings account into the bond and coupon account for the interest payment for the public improvement serial bond due April 1 – the final payment for the bond taken out on April 1996 for the new fire station and village hall improvements in the amount of $1,025,000. The board authorized Windoft to levy unpaid water bills per the list as provided by the Board of Public Utilities onto the 2014-15 village of Lakewood tax bills. The board also authorized Windoft and the Chautauqua County Division of Taxation to produce Lakewood’s 2014-15 tax bills in accordance with the most recent tax roll on file, and authorized Windoft to make several budget transfers.