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FOSS BUDGET KEEPS TAX RATE THE SAME AS '99

Marilla Supervisor John Foss has filed a tentative $1,744,769 budget for 2000 that is up less than 1 percent and will carry a tax rate of $1.74 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, the same as this year.

The budget and would require a tax levy of $915,694.

Foss said the plan includes finishing the second year of the Eastwood Road soccer-fields project at a cost of $15,000. The fields will be available to any group.

Foss said the the only other major project for 2000 would be the purchase of easements for the PACE land preservation project for $100,000 that was not included in the budget because it won't happen unless the state comes through with a grant. If the state grant is approved, the $100,000 will come out of the general fund.

He said the only current debt the town has is payments on the new community center. The total owed is $415,000.

Foss included a 3 percent across-the-board raise for all elected and appointed officials and for employees. He said the budget is up slightly due to increased costs in the Sanitation Department and fire company and costs associated with Water District 4 coming on line.

The general budget is down 2.2 percent or $10,000 to $570,715 and once again will require no tax rate. Savings were realized in combining the tax collector and town clerk positions for the first time. This budget carries a surplus of $300,000.

The $266,100 highway budget carries a tax rate of 45 cents, down 5 cents. Foss said the budget is down $9,000 due to savings in plowing costs.

The Fire District budget is up 4.5 percent and carries a tax rate of $1.29, up 5 cents due to increases in first-aid and ambulance costs.

An proposal to increase the firefighters' Service Award Program will be on the November ballot. The Town Board had agreed to increase the service award donation from $120 to $300 per man per year. If approved, the change could cost each household $3 to $5 more a year. Foss said the fire company is "doing extremely well and we have no shortage of volunteers . . . like other towns. It's a cheap price we pay for fire service and first aid per household."

The Lighting District that covers a small area of the town has a budget of $3,100, down $300 and will carry a tax rate of 9 cents, a decrease of a penny.

The three water districts in town are supported by those residents within them and are assessed individually.

Water District 4, the newest of the districts, has a budget of $105,900 and residents can expect to pay $325 a year over a 38 year bond. The total cost of the district is $2.3 million. Construction bids were opened Friday and the contract to install 50,000 feet of pipe was awarded to Kandy Corp. for $1,587,630.

Kandy's bid was $350,000 under the projected cost and the difference will be used to pay tap-in fees for residents, a savings of about $500 per household.

Foss said out of 230 residents, 200 may to hook into the district. After the district is operational, he said water service will be available to all but 20 percent of the town's population.

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