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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

Tax rate will increase 11 cents more than expected

Most Williamsville School District taxpayers will see their tax rates rise more than anticipated in 2011-12 because Amherst property values did not increase as much as expected.

Amherst property assessments rose by 0.12 percent, instead of 1 percent as anticipated, said Thomas Maturski, the assistant superintendent of finance at a recent board meeting. As a result, the school tax rate will go up 11 cents more than projected when the school budget was adopted in April, he said.

Instead of a projected 2011-12 tax rate of $17.86 per $1,000 assessed value, the actual school tax rate will be $17.97. This compares with a tax rate of $17.54 cents for 2010-11.

Altogether, the owner of a $100,000 house who paid a $1,754 tax bill in 2010-11, will pay $43 more this coming year.

The 2011-12 town tax levy -- the total amount of taxes collected by the school district -- is $106.3 million, nearly $2.8 million or 2.75 percent more than last year. That figure is unchanged from the budget figure approved in April.

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Fundraiser will feature salsa dance contest

Buffalo's best salsa dancers will be crowned during the inaugural Copacabana Salsa Night fundraiser sponsored by Hispanics United of Buffalo at 7 p.m. Friday in the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. Doors open for ticket sales at 6. Tickets are $50. VIP tickets, including food and open bar, are $100. Dance students are $30.

First-, second- and third-place winners will receive an assortment of prizes and gift certificates. Winners will be determined by a panel of judges from dancing schools in Buffalo and Rochester headed by Lisa Grisanti, a salsa instructor and marketing director for Shea's Performing Arts Center.

Registration is $50 per couple and must be submitted by noon Friday. To enter, go to www.hispunited.org and fill out the short form or visit the Hispanics United office at 254 Virginia St. For information, call 856-7110.

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McLaughlin is confirmed as head of probation

Brian McLaughlin, who since December has been acting director of the Erie County Probation Department, was unanimously confirmed this week as the permanent director.

County lawmakers unanimously confirmed County Executive Chris Collins' appointment of McLaughlin, who rose through the department's ranks over the last 10 years.

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Centennial celebration planned for Miller Bell Tower

CHAUTAUQUA -- Chautauqua Institution will celebrate the centennial of its iconic Miller Bell Tower with a party on Sunday in Miller Park. The tower, named for Lewis Miller, one of Chautauqua's founders, was dedicated 100 years ago this month.

Activities run from 11 a.m. through the afternoon, and all parking fees have been waived for Sunday. Antique fire trucks will be on display along South Lake Drive near Miller Park and the Athenaeum Hotel will sell box lunches.