By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — TOWN OF TONAWANDA — Despite the gloom of Sandy looming outside town hall Monday night, board members had some good news for residents inside the municipal building — they’ve amended the budget and taxes just might decrease in 2013.
“We are not doing it by spending the fund balance,” Councilman Joseph Emminger said. “We did it by lowering spending.”
By going through each item line by line, the board was able to find one-tenth of a percent decrease for residents in taxes.
“It will equal about 1 cent less per day for the average household,” Emminger said.
The cuts came from personal services and related fringe benefits and special districts, including the budgets for animal control, garbage, sewer stations and about 94 other areas collectively totaling $900,141.
The estimated revenues for the water acquisition and storage district will be reduced by $83,027.
In total, spending will be cut by 3.6 percent.
Emminger said those cuts do not include any layoffs.
“It was just a little here, a little there,” he said.
He said the board has a plan that will aid the town in meeting fiscal challenges of the coming years in a way that will not impact residents.
He spoke of possible future agreements with the City of Tonawanda to share employees, similar to the current plan that divides the duties of assessor David C. Marrano.
Future plans notwithstanding, Emminger was proud of the board’s work for 2013.
“This is the first decrease since I’ve been here,” Emminger said. “So it’s been at least ten years.”
The fund balance remains at about $19 million, and Emminger said that figure is right within the state’s recommendation. And although the board didn’t look to that figure for help in 2013, Emminger said it may prove useful in combating future challenges, in particular the sanitary sewer investments recently mandated by the Department of Environmental Conservation.
But for now, Emminger is cautiously optimistic.
“It’s a good day for our town,” he said. “And it’s something we will be happy to present at the public comment session.”
The budget’s public hearing will be held Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m. in the Municipal Building.
The board also held a hearing and adopted a bond resolution for water line improvements on Delaware Road. The project will cost about $5 million.
Director of Water Resources Ken Maving said the project will be similar to phase 1 of Parker-Fries. The improvements will stretch from Brighton Road, through Sheridan Drive and end at Deerhurst Park Boulevard.
Construction will take place in July and August.
“There will be some disturbance to residents and tree loss,” Maving said.
Maving also provided an update on the sewer projects on Orchard Drive and Cleveland Drive. The laying of 16,000 feet of sewer lining was complete Oct. 11, according to Maving, and about 175 feet of spot repairs were done in areas with severe damage.
Contractors are also resurfacing man holes and completing final work on the project.
“We are making it so it will be good for a long time,” Maving said.
The project is set to be complete in two weeks.
The board on Monday also approved Ledge Creek Development, Inc. to repair a wall at the Aquatic and Fitness Center, after a driver severely damaged it a few weeks ago.
According to Supervisor Anthony Caruana, the driver put the car in the wrong gear and smashed into the wall.
The estimated cost of the job is $54,000, most of which will be covered by the driver’s insurance.
Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150.Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150.