We begin by offering our applause to the Fredonia Village Board. Trustees whittled down Mayor Stephen Keefe's proposal, which hiked taxes $1.25 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, to no increase.
"I believe that our main goal for the board of trustees was a zero tax increase, and it's $9,393 over our unrestricted fund balance, and I think that's a great accomplishment," said Trustee Joe Cerrie.
But residents are not off the hook.
The village is keeping with its proposal to raise the water rate by 20 cents per 1,000 used gallons. The rate will rise to $2.92 for those using less than 100,000 gallons of water per year and increase to $2.77 for those that use more than 100,000 gallons.
Water rates are a cash cow - and a large part of the reason the village has not gone all in to become part of the Chadwick Bay regional water district. By controlling its rates - and not having to become part of a district - the village can easily add to its revenue stream. A public hearing on the rates will be May 14, which will not likely bring out many to complain.
Those rising water rates, however, continue a strange trend: Residents in this region pay the same rate or more for their water - near a Great Lake - when compared to residents in Arizona.
Think about that. It is nearly the same rate for water in Western New York as it is in a desert. That is because surplus funds from the water are carrying other costs in the budget.
That 20-cent increase may seem small, but residents and businesses, especially Carriage House, will notice the hit.