By Dave Dahl
For the third consecutive year, Town of Ashford residents may find no increase in the town government’s tax levy.
The Town Board proposed a 2017 budget Monday night that keeps the tax levy, the amount collected in property taxes, at $435,360.
Holding the levy at that amount poses a challenge because the town’s tax-exempt value is 87.09 percent, which is more than any other town in the state, said William King, budget officer. With the state-owned West Valley Demonstration Project, a nuclear energy site, occupying 84.5 percent of that value, officials find it difficult to prepare a budget each year.
“Our assemblyman, state senator and governor should be ashamed that they’re allowing a town in the state of New York to be affected that way,” King said afterward.
Supervisor Charles Davis emphasized the nuclear energy site places the town in a unique situation.
“We’re not treated like any other Department of Energy site in the country,” he said afterward.
The $1,834,122 spending plan includes $526,947 in the general fund and $1,290,550 in the highway fund. Proposed spending would rise from $1,803,474.
Officials expect to announce tentative tax rates next month.
“We can’t propose tax rates yet because there might be changes,” Davis said.
From the tax levy, $423,610 would go toward the highway fund while none would be used for the general fund.
The budget also contains a proposed revenue jump from $1,368,114 to $1,398,763.
In another matter, Highway Superintendent Tim Engels announced that chip-and-stone work will continue on Mule Avenue and Henrietta and Heinz roads.
Board members also reappointed Michael Gerwitz to a five-year term on the Assessment Review Board.
The Town Board, which normally meets on the second Wednesday night of each month, met Monday night because some officials planned to attend the National Cleanup Conference from Tuesday to Thursday in Alexandria, VA, where a discussion of the West Valley Demonstration Project will occur.
As a result of the change, Councilmen John Pfeffer and Richard Bernstein were absent because they participated in emergency medical technician training.
The next Ashford Town Board meeting will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 12.