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City of Lockport continues to work on 2013 budget

BY: Rikki Cason | November 04, 2012

A budget with a proposed eight percent increase was presented Tuesday at the City of Lockport budget public hearing. Despite the current increase, Mayor Michael Tucker said the Common Council is not done reducing it.

When the budget process first began, Tucker said they were facing a 40 percent tax increase. They have worked over the past few months to decrease that increase to 8.52 percent.

In the past the city has voted to override the state’s two percent tax cap. Tucker said that this year they would not do that.

“We’re committed to do whatever is needed to reach a zero percent increase,” said Tucker. “I’m confident we will get to where we need to be.”

During the public hearing residents voiced their opinions on various areas of the budget.

Resident Phyllis Green urged the city to discontinue the annual summer concert series, which she said would save $150,000.

“We cannot afford anymore taxes in the City of Lockport,” said Green. “This is a luxury. Some luxuries we can’t afford anymore.”

Green also suggested that retirees begin to pay part of their health insurance benefits like other retirees are required to do.

“You say the tax rate is going to be the same, how about lowering it,” she said.

Resident George Kugler asked about the amount of assessed property value. He said since it was $717 million in 2012 and only $711 million in 2013 — a difference of approximately $5.8 million — to keep taxes the same as this year, they would need to have a decrease in taxes to make up for the difference.

The city will pass their final budget on Nov. 21, leaving the council three weeks to find areas to make cuts.

“There is a lot of work to do,” said Tucker.

The 2012 property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value was $14.73.

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