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Public hearing of budget set today

Town officials will hold a public hearing on the preliminary 2008 budget at 7 p.m. today in Town Hall.

The proposed $4.9 million spending plan keeps the town tax rate at 79 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

The budget includes a 3 percent raise for employees and the creation of a part-time code enforcement officer.

Town leaders are talking with officials in the Village of Youngstown about combining the new position with the village's code enforcement officer position, said Supervisor Merton K. Wiepert.

The town is looking to spend about $15,000 on the code enforcement officer annually, Wiepert said.

The proposed spending plan also includes a 3 percent raise for several elected officials. The salaries of the supervisor and the five Town Board members are not increasing from their 2007 levels.

"I think they're all satisfied with what they're getting," Wiepert said. "It's not a job you take for the money. It's a job you take to improve the community."

Under the preliminary budget, the supervisor would continue to make $28,535, while board members would each make $7,165.

The 3 percent increases would set the following salaries for 2008 as follows: town justice, $15,613; tax collector, $5,100; town clerk, $35,322; highway superintendent, $33,024.

Proposed total spending in 2008 -- $4,882,449 -- is a 3.5 percent increase over 2007.

Town officials have not decided how to spend more than $2 million in capital improvement money received through an agreement with CWM Chemical Services this year.

While officials continue to think about how to spend the funding, the interest earned on the funds has helped keep the tax rate down, Wiepert said.

Porter officials don't know what capital projects -- if any -- will happen next year.

The town is also planning to partner with the Village of Youngstown on a state grant application to assess the feasibility of sharing services between each municipality's public works departments. Whether the town and village are awarded the grant should be known sometime next year.

Councilman Thomas A. Baia said it has been difficult to keep the tax rate stable, but it's necessary because residents are concerned about spending at a time when costs continue to rise.

The town's final budget must be passed by Nov. 20.

Town Hall is located at 3265 Creek Road.


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