BATAVIA – The majority of Batavia aldermen Monday were in favor of further budget cuts so residents will not have to endure a property tax increase.
Batavia aldermen voted, 11-3, to have City Administrator Bill McGrath find another $150,000 to cut from the proposed $105 million 2016 city budget to avoid a property tax increase.
The aldermen voted on the motion after hearing from Batavia residents Sylvia Keppel and BEI Vice President Austin Dempsey during a public hearing for the proposed budget held during the regular Batavia City Council meeting.
“If you focus more on consumption tax and less on property tax, it’s a real win for the community,” Dempsey said to the aldermen.
The property tax increase might have resulted in a $6 tax increase for the year for the owner of a home valued at $300,000.
Other proposed revenue increases for the budget include a 2 percent liquor tax, increasing the gasoline tax from 1 cent to 2 cents and utility rate increases.
The city is proposing a 6 percent utility rate increase for electric, a 3 percent increase for water and 6 percent increase for sewer, Batavia Finance Director Peggy Colby said.
The utility rate increases factored into 6th Ward Alderman Michael Russotto’s support to avoid a property tax increase.
The aldermen that voted against the additional $150,000 cut were Alan Wolff (2nd Ward), Susan Stark (4th Ward) and Lucy Thelin-Atac (5th Ward).
Wolff questioned why the motion for the $150,000 cut wasn’t made during the two previous budget meetings the aldermen had earlier this month.
“I think it’s the wrong move, I think we’ll regret it,” Wolfe said.