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ABOLITION OF ASSESSOR EXPECTED IN DEPEW ELECTION SWEEP BY ACTION PARTY POINTS TO DISSOLUTION OF VILLAGE OFFICE

A study by a Depew village trustee that claimed the consolidation of the village assessor's office would cost taxpayers money is probably a dead issue.

Candidates of the Depew Action Party, who supported abolishing the village assessor's office, were voted into office this week, and assured residents they would follow through on their campaign pledge.

Mayor-elect Robert Kucewicz said Wednesday he and the new Village Board have about three options to consider on the assessment issue -- all that involve dissolving the assessor's office.

Three other Depew Action Party candidates won election Tuesday, including incumbent William Maryniewski, newcomer Joe McIntosh and former trustee Joan Priebe.

The Village Board sought an independent analysis of a study presented by Trustee Robert Meyer, which showed taxpayers would face tax increases with the elimination of the assessor's office and takeover of that function by the towns of Lancaster and Cheektowaga. Figures and calculations in Meyer's study were criticized strongly by the assessors in both towns.

Kucewicz said he does not think the Village Board needs to go ahead with a plan to pay an independent auditor to look at Meyer's study.

"We may back away from it (the study)," Kucewicz said. "I don't think the (audit) has been awarded yet. We're going to take a look at the issue ourselves."

Meyer, of the Depew Independent Progressive Party, was defeated, as was Mayor Michael Rusinek, a fellow party member. Rusinek defeated Kucewicz in a special mayoral election a year ago.

When Kucewicz is sworn in as mayor, it will be his first time in public office. Kucewicz is a records systems coordinator for Erie County.

In addition to tackling the assessment issue, Kucewicz and his running mates plan to take a look at health benefits paid to village trustees and the 1995 budget proposed by Rusinek.

"(Village trustees) should not be getting medical benefits," Kucewicz said. "It's a part-time job. It's (health benefits) one of the first things on our agenda."

Rusinek's budget proposal calls for no tax increase. However, Kucewicz said he would still like to take a close look at the proposal.

"I haven't had an opportunity to look at (the budget) that closely," Kucewicz said.

"If anything, we'd like to drop the tax rate down even further. But I don't know in this first budget how deeply we'll be able to dig," he said.

Because the budget must be adopted by May 1, Kucewicz worried they might not have enough time to study the budget as much as they would like.

"To (Rusinek's) credit, he told me he'll do whatever it takes to help us in the transition," Kucewicz said.

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