DEPEW, N.Y. - Five months ago, voters in Depew chose not to dissolve their village, despite complaints from some vocal activists who claimed dissolution could lead to huge savings in property taxes.
Clearly, the majority of voters were not convinced.
It should be pointed out, however, that the latest 2017-18 budget for the Village of Depew increases the tax levy by 3.9 percent.
What does the mean? Well, for people on the Cheektowaga side of the village, property taxes will actually dip slightly by about four cents per $1,000 assessed on a home. On the Lancaster side, however, property taxes will increase slightly for residents, by about 35 cents per thousand. For a $150,000 home, property taxes could increase by about $51 dollars.
It's not an enormous increase, but the overall 3.9 percent tax levy increase is still above the 2-percent cap (due to arrangements with Cheektowaga and Lancaster, property taxes vary depending on which town's jurisdiction you reside within).
Depew Mayor Jesse Nikonowicz said the slight tax increase is due to the village needing to still ratify a few contracts.
There's also the matter of an $8.5 million debt, which pro-dissolution residents in Depew believed the village could alleviate through dissolving. Nikonowicz, however, said the debt would be owed no matter what, since it's tied to the sewers. Complicating the matter, the DEC has also mandated a consent order that requires the village to pick up the tab for sewer costs.
To be clear, the slight property tax increase isn't directly tied to the $8.5 million debt. And that debt affects only people in a certain sewer district, which lies mostly in Lancaster.
"The debt's the debt. Everybody has some debt," Nikonowicz said. "People still misunderstand the debt. The debt's tied to the sewers, not the village."