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NIAGARA NEWS BRIEFS

Town Board approves new water rules plan

LEWISTON -- The Town Board on Monday night approved a new water rules and regulation plan that would discontinue "garden service" for water use.

Formerly, those who had meters installed for waterering gardens did not have to pay a combined water/sewer rate.

Under the new local law, anyone who had a garden water service meter installed before Dec. 31 1999, would continue to be allowed to pay water consumption only rates, but those who installed meters after Jan. 1, 2000, would begin paying the full combined water/sewer rate.

The board also held a public hearing to issue a $3.5 million bond in the master sewer district that would be used for upgrades, refurbishments and improvements to the Water Pollution Control Center.

Dowd told the board that they should leave the hearing open without approval for 30 days, in order to complete an environmental assessment, due to the sewer plant's proximity to a town park on Pletcher Road.

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Hospice Alliance sets Spring Bouquet Sale

LOCKPORT -- The Niagara Hospice Alliance is holding its annual Spring Bouquet Sale at businesses throughout Niagara County from Feb. 28 through March 5, with presale bouquet orders being taken now.

Bouquets sell for $8 each. Proceeds help support the mission of Niagara Hospice. In the spirit of the agency's focus on patient care and the We Honor Veterans initiative, Niagara Hospice is offering a unique opportunity to donate purchased bouquets. For a gift of $16, Hospice will deliver two bouquets on the purchaser's behalf -- one to a current patient and one to a Niagara County veteran.

For a list of walk-up sale locations or to order your bouquets, call Niagara Hospice at 280-0766 or visit the Events page at www.NiagaraHospice.org. The sale is sponsored by M & T Bank and Grand Tours -- Ridge Road Express.

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Senate Democrats promise votes for property tax cap

ALBANY -- Senate Democrats said they will provide many of their votes on a property tax cap to give Republicans who control the Senate and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo plenty of room to assure its passage.

The Senate Democrats staged an event Monday to push their support of efforts to control the growth of property taxes by localities and school districts.

But the Democrats said they also think a "circuit breaker" approach -- giving tax breaks to New Yorkers based on income -- should be adopted. Sen. Tim Kennedy, a Buffalo Democrat, did not provide specifics of how such a plan could be funded, given the state's soaring deficit, except to say money could come from "savings" the state will make the next couple of years by controlling the growth of spending.

Cuomo later distanced himself from a circuit breaker, saying the state needs a property tax cap to control the tax levy costs for homeowners and businesses and to make "a powerful statement" that New York wants to shift its reputation as a high tax state. Serious talks have yet to begin on the property tax front.

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