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VILLAGE OKS BUDGET WITH 6.8% INCREASE IN PROPERTY TAX

The Depew Village Board has adopted a $10.6 million budget that increases the amount to be raised through property taxes by 6.8 percent.

That is one percentage point less than the tax levy proposed in Mayor Joseph McIntosh's tentative plan, which was released last month.

The adopted budget, which trims $61,689 from the McIntosh proposal, calls for the elimination of one of the village's 30 police officer positions, which will save about $23,000 next year, according to Village Clerk Robert Kucewicz.

Police officer salaries in the village start at $23,000 annually and after four years peak at about $50,000, so the savings from the one position will increase the following year. The position that was cut results from the retirement of one officer, Kucewicz said.

The village is in negotiations with its police officers, whose previous contract expired in June 2004.

The neighboring Village of Lancaster merged its Police Department with the Town of Lancaster Police Department two years ago. Depew, which is in the towns of Lancaster and Cheektowaga, is awaiting a merger study being undertaken by Erie County.

Depew officials also made cuts in the village's Recreation Department budget.

"They cut some of the summer help, so there's not going to be so many people (working) at the playgrounds," Kucewicz said.

The village leases park property and, in the summers, employs part-time staff to supervise recreation programs.

Meanwhile, under the new budget, the tax rate will increase to $17.99 per $1,000 of assessed valuation over the current $16.85 per $1,000.

Homes in the village are taxed at 60 percent of their value, Kucewicz said. So the tax bill on $100,000 home will be $1,079, a $66 increase from the current year.

e-mail: hmcneil@buffnews.com

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