LEWIS -- Lewis property owners will have a touch of relief in 2009 as the proposed budget shows a slight decrease in taxes.

The tax levy, which is the amount to be raised by taxes, is $443,169, down just under 1 percent from this year.

The tax rate per $1,000 of assessed property value will be $4.69, except for those in the Lewis Water District, who will pay $5.81 per $1,000 due to bonds, interest, operations and maintenance of the system.

The budget is up from $835,372 in 2008 to $848,313 for 2009.

"The Lewis town board has worked hard to keep spending down, and the budget will come in at 0.015 percent over the 2008 budget," said Supervisor David H. Blades.

"The board understands that 2008 has been a difficult year for all, with the increases in fuel, food and the problems on the federal and state levels."

The decrease is attributed to several factors, such as each department requiring fewer supplies and equipment.

The town also saw a decrease in New York State Retirement Fund contributions, health insurance and Social Security, due to changes in personnel.

No major purchases and projects are planned for 2009.

These savings were counterbalanced by increases in fuel, salt and sand.

The only elected officials who will be getting a pay raise are the highway superintendent, tax collector and town justices, who will receive a 3-percent increase.

All village employees will see their paychecks augmented by 3 percent starting in January.

The total assessed value of property in the town is $148,173,480. Of that, $6,360,211 is tax-exempt state land, and $47,050,809 is other non-taxable land.

"I am very pleased that the Lewis Fire District presented a budget that did not reflect an increase," Blades said.

"All in all, I am extremely pleased with the budget proposed by the town board. I would like to thank all of the employees of the Town of Lewis, both elected and appointed, for their professionalism and dedication during this budget process. The residents are very fortunate to have them."

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