Town of Dunkirk residents could see a 20 percent hike in their taxes next year if the proposed 2020 tax rates are approved at the annual budget hearing and town meeting Monday, Nov. 18.

Residents will get a chance to approve the proposed budget at the hearing, which starts at 6:30 p.m, Following the hearing, the town board is scheduled to adopt the 2020 budget.

The biggest change is an additional $111,000 tabbed for “conservation and development” as part of the first year of the town’s new Rural Preservation Program. Combined with a slight drop in the town’s assessed value from $202 million to $201 million, the extra spending means a mill rate of $3.47, up considerably from $2.9 this year and $2.89 the previous two.

Town chair Norm Monsen told the Hub on Monday town officials are “comfortable” with the increase for the program, as its direction came from a clear majority of town voters this spring.

On April 2, residents approved the program creating the town’s Rural Preservation Program in a 353-219 vote. The town board later approved the program.

The program taxes residents 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed value to set aside money to purchase rights to keep farmland and open spaces, from being developed.

“We’re following the wishes of our residents,” he said.

The increase will be there “every year,” Monsen said.

Now that the town has a program, he hopes town officials will be able to “attract additional program money from the outside, whether it’s county, state or federal, to help grow that program.”

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Dunkirk tax information

2019 2020 (proposed)
Tax levy $586,855 $698,095
Assessed property value $202,127,600 $201,141,300
Mill rate $2.9 $3.47