Tonawanda News — TOWN OF TONAWANDA — Supervisor Anthony Caruana proposed a tax decrease Monday night during his preliminary budget message delivered at the board’s regular meeting.
The preliminary budget, composed from department head requests for 2014, details a tax levy of $43,721,460, down from $43,753,328. The decrease of $31,868 represents a 0.10 percent drop in the tax levy.
“The cost per day to the average homeowner will be $3.25 per day, down one cent per day from 2013 and two cents per day from 2012,” Caruana said.
If the budget is passed as is, 2014 would mark the second year the town’s tax levy has decreased by 0.01 percent. The town board will review the budget at two work sessions in October before voting on a plan in early November. Last year, the board cut almost $1 million in its review to create the first tax decrease in 13 years.
Caruana noted that the preliminary budget is constrained by increases to hospital and medical insurance, a cost to the town that is set to increase by $1.3 million in 2014. Those costs have doubled since 2007.
Improvements to the town’s sewer infrastructure, including the costly Parker Fries project, also make up a large chunk of the town’s expenses.
“These significant improvements to our aging infrastructure ... were long overdue and very critically necessary,” Caruana said.
But Caruana said estimated increases in revenues, such as mortgage and sales tax, will help make up for the difference.
Also at Monday’s meeting, the board approved naming the town’s new street in the Northtown Commerce Center. The street, which connects to a bridge in the new 92-acre business park, will be named Pirson Parkway after a German farmer, John Pirson, who immigrated in the mid-1800s.
“They came to this town, before it was a town, seeking freedom,” John Percy, the town historian, said at the meeting. “He was a very important man in this town.”
Percy said Pirson was a prominent farmer who lived in a log cabin located near 2250 Military Road. He was a member of the town’s first religious congregation and helped build the town’s first church on Knoche road, which has since become the Tonawanda historical museum.
There was some debate about the correct spelling of the man’s name, Caruana said. Percy said Monday that the name was spelled “Pierson,” on a map, but the man’s tombstone is engraved “Pirson.”
“If there’s something I’ve learned in 40 years as being a historian, it’s to go with a simpler spelling,” he said Monday.
Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000 ext. 4150, or follow her on Twitter @JessicaLBagley.