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SCHOOL BOARD OKS BUDGET WITH TAX HIKE

The Hamburg School Board Tuesday approved a budget for 2005-2006 that calls for an average tax rate increase of 2.9 percent throughout the four towns served by the district.

The $46.8 million budget also represents a spending increase of about 4.25 percent, most of which is from mandated costs associated with pay rates, retirement costs and health insurance.

The tax rates set for residents in the towns of Hamburg, Eden, Boston and Orchard Park will remain regardless of any changes in New York State aid to the district.

"We want the voter to know when they go to the polls in May (17) what the tax rate will be in September," said Superintendent Peter Roswell.

The tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value will be up slightly for 2005-06 in Hamburg from $21.26 to $21.61 and in Eden from $19.22 to $19.69. Residents in Boston and Orchard Park will see reductions from $26.41 to $25.67 and from $22.92 to $22.85 respectively.

Thomas Bagley, director of administrative services, said that with the budget set, the district expects to raise $21.2 million from property taxes, with state aid expected to kick in just over $18 million.

The district will host a public hearing for the budget at 7:30 p.m. May 3 at Union Pleasant Elementary School, 150 Pleasant Ave. Residents can vote on the budget from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. May 17 in the high school gymnasium at 4111 Legion Drive.

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