Tonawanda News — Kenmore Mayor Patrick Mang more than once invoked the village’s fiscal struggles as he outlined a handful of the area’s goals and challenges Wednesday during his annual State of the Village address.
Although Mang did discuss Kenmore’s recent accomplishments, the majority of the speech focused on the municipality’s financial roadblocks.
“There are so many costs beyond our control,” he said. “And on top of that, there is the 2 percent cap that keeps us from going over that.”
Mang pointed to ever-rising pension costs, which he said have increased by 100 percent in the last five years.
“We are a small village, and we are paying $1.2 million in pension costs,” Mang said. “And it is going up next year again, yet the state refuses to reform it or offer some relief.”
The Department of Public Works, which performs the majority of the day-to-day duties in the village, has recently been cut from 51 workers to 35.
But despite those hurdles, Mang said he and the board are doing their best to retain services for residents — with no raises for elected officials, among other measures.
“Those services are what attract residents and businesses alike,” he said.
The event, sponsored by Kenmore Merchants Association, was held at Village Square Events and Catering on the block of Delaware Road that has recently been redone by Sinatra & Company Real Estate.
Mang thanked Nick Sinatra for leading that effort.
“We now have somewhere to go in Kenmore that is our home,” he said.
He also said the village is working with the state’s Department of Transportation to work on the flow of traffic on Delaware Avenue.
Possible changes include adding a center turn lane and removing the sign prohibiting left turns onto Lincoln Boulevard from Delaware, in addition to clearly marking between lanes.
Attendees were concerned about parking on the streets, but Mang said all spots will remain there.
A question and answer session following the speech focused on those potential lane changes as well as Kenmore Avenue.
“I’m very concerned about Kenmore Avenue,” Mari McNeil, of the Town of Tonawanda, said. “It has really been going downhill.”
Mang agreed, but said the village can’t redo the road, as it is county owned.
“The county has no money,” Mang said.
But Bob Bolt, owner of Mike’s Subs and president of the KMA, said there is a possibility commercial investors could invest on the street.
Bolt was also given the duty of introducing Mang, as well as other elected officials present, at the start of the event. He, along with Vice President Marcia Brogan, detailed a number of KMA events coming up, including Santa’s visit to the village green on Dec. 24 and the Stop, Sip and Shop on Dec. 5.
The event, which will also be held at the Village Square, will feature a bar and local vendors, and will offer residents a chance to socialize and shop for the holidays.Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150.