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Clarence's four Town Board members will earn nearly as much as their counterparts in Amherst and considerably more than board members in Lancaster next year.

Clarence board members have decided to take a 3 percent salary hike next year, instead of the 4 percent other officials will receive, town Supervisor Paul McCarthy said Wednesday.

Nevertheless, the raises -- or "cost of living adjustments," as Clarence officials prefer to call them -- will boost the salaries of board members to $19,819.

Board members in Amherst, Clarence's big neighbor to the west, earn $20,580 a year, or $761 more than what Clarence board members will gross next year.

On Clarence's southern boundary, Lancaster board members want a 5 percent raise to $13,085, or $6,734 less than in Clarence.

Amherst's six board members haven't taken a raise since 1990 and won't next year. Meanwhile, Clarence has closed the gap, with board members earning 20.4 percent more than they did in 1991.

Amherst has an estimated population of about 115,000; Clarence, between 20,000 and 21,000; and Lancaster almost 40,000.

But Clarence officials say their board members function almost as four additional town supervisors, without the many well-staffed departments and consultant expertise that Amherst relies on.

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