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BOARD OKS $2.49 MILLION BUDGET

The Village Board has unanimously adopted a 2005-06 budget of $2.49 million.

Absent was any village share of funding for the Lewiston Library, which some Town Board members put at $90,000, or 25 percent of the total library budget earlier this week.

The new budget, approved Monday, is up $130,000 from the current year's budget of $2.36 million, but Mayor Richard F. Soluri said the tax rate will remain stable at $5.35 per $1,000 of assessment because of some new assessments.

Last month the board had considered a slightly higher budget and an increased tax rate, but Soluri called any rate increase unacceptable.

"In light of what's going on all around us, for us to keep the same tax rate is pretty monumental. We hope this spreads to other communities," said Soluri.

He said after the budget was adopted that Town Board requests for the Village Board to add funding for the library was premature.

"At this point we are just talking about it. No contract has been proven to us and we haven't seen it in writing. (Funding the library) is still the town's responsibility," said Soluri.

Village Trustees and planning board members also unanimously approved the Gardens at Oxbow, a $5 million housing project set on six acres of land at Oxbow and Mohawk streets, a former tree farm site.

Developer George Grasser, a retired Clarence lawyer and president of Partners for a Living Western New York, calls the 23-home cluster development "a walkable neighborhood and the first project like this in Western New York."

He said houses are up to the street, garages are hidden, the streets are narrow, there is an emphasis on public green space when you look out the front door, and sidewalks will allow residents to walk to the nearby park.

The development features a homeowners association that is responsible for maintenance.

"We hope for a mix of people, but our primary customer is the empty nester. The master bedroom is on the first floor, and there is lots of handicap accessibility so residents can age in place," said Grasser.

Developer Paul Game said, "We love this area, too, and we wanted to make this something we'll all be proud of."

Homes are expected to cost about $200,000, and developers have said there is already a waiting list of 50 people for the 23 homes. Construction is expected to begin immediately.

e-mail: nfischer@buffnews.com

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