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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

Residents will see tax hike despite layoffs, school closing

BATAVIA -- Despite laying off 21 staff and closing one of three elementary schools, the Batavia School District's 2012-13 budget of $40 million will add a 2.5 percent tax increase for property owners.

If approved at a May 15 election, the school tax bill for residents in the city and part of the Town of Stafford will be nearly $50 more for a typical home with a property tax of $23.46 per $1,000 of assessed value.

The closing of Robert Morris Elementary will save about $1 million a year. However, the district will have to buy nine more buses to fulfill its obligation to bus students who live a mile or more from their school. The remaining elementary schools are between 1.5 and 2.5 miles from the Robert Morris neighborhood and its 380 students.

The budget plan -- balanced between a 1.83 percent hike in spending and $1.2 million in personnel cuts -- will be the subject of a public hearing at the high school at 7 p.m. May 1.

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Cultural anniversaries are focus of April lectures

A lecture series celebrating some significant cultural anniversaries for the Buffalo area will take place this month in the Central Library on Lafayette Square.

The lectures will take place Wednesdays in the Ring of Knowledge area on the first floor of the library. Each will run from noon to 1 p.m.

The lectures currently scheduled are:

Wednesday -- "175 Years of Libraries in Buffalo & Erie County," Anne Conable of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library;

April 11 -- "150 Origins and Everafter: Keeping Time at the History Museum," by Melissa Brown and Anthony Greco of the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society;

April 18 -- "150 Years of Science in the City: Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences -- Past, Present and Future," Mark Mortenson and Kathy Leacock of the Buffalo Museum of Science;

April 25 -- "150 Years of Art at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery," Jessica DiPalma of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

For more information, visit the library's website at www.buffalolib.org or call the system at 858-8900.

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Urban renewal agency OKs roof work, software system

The Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency has approved roof work at a recreational center and the purchase of new accounting software.

The agency's board, during a meeting in City Hall, voted 7-0 to award a $223,600 roofing contract to Progressive Roofing of Buffalo for work at Lanigan Field House, at Fulton and Louisiana streets.

Progressive was the lowest of five bidders. If the roof work could not be done this season, officials have been considering shutting the center down, said Francisco Guzman, agency engineer.

The agency also will replace accounting software that's more than two decades old with a product from Yardi Systems. The new system has a one-time setup cost of $70,450 and annual costs of $71,750.

Yardi Systems was the lowest of three bidders, said Margreta D. Mobley, the agency's director of administration.