SHERMAN - Sherman area residents can expect no increase in taxes if the proposed budget for 2013 is approved.
The Sherman Town Board reviewed and accepted Supervisor Mark Persons tentative budget at its regular meeting Thursday evening, Oct. 4. A public hearing concerning the budget has been set for Thursday, Nov. 1
Persons told the board he did all he could to avoid a tax increase. He expressed concern about the local economy, particularly as it is affected by the grain shortage caused by the drought in the Midwest this summer.
"It's absolutely the worst agriculture economy I have ever seen in Chautauqua County," he said after the meeting.
The "bottom line" Persons said, was that $353,679 needs to be raised by taxes for the village and town budgets.
"We did not use any of our 2 percent cap allowance," he said. "We remained stagnant."
Persons said he was concerned the latest account balances were different than the figures he worked with when putting the budget together.
"We will get to the bottom of this," he said.
Another area of concern was the cemetery went over-budget in 2012. Persons recommended some of the cemetery duties be shifted to the highway department. This would ease the work of the current caretaker as well as justify having a three-person crew on the highway department during the summer.
"We've got options," Persons said.
In other business, the board heard from local agricultural businessman Greg Rater, who requested a 15-year exemption from taxes for two income properties he is hoping to build.
Persons responded state law only allows a 50 percent exemption that decreases by 5 percent over each successive year up to 10 years.
Rater expressed dismay that people who work in the private sector support the salaries of those in public service jobs, but have to struggle to get by themselves.
"Being in the private sector, I feel I should have just as much of a right to prosperity as anyone else," Rater said. "If a state trooper can make $110,000 a year and the Sherman teachers can make $80,000, why can't somebody who is willing to invest in the community have the same opportunities? I'm just thinking out loud here ... something has got to change."
On another note, the board accepted a request from Sherman's district justices to have an open house at the municipal building on Friday, Nov. 2 to showcase the renovations done there. The renovations were made possible by a grant of $8,758 from the state Justice Court Assistance Program (JCAP). Renovations include new flooring and baseboard, new lights and ceiling, painting, two air conditioners, a copy machine and gutters above the entrances to the building.
The board also agreed to send a letter of resolution to the county expressing its full support of the sale of the county home.