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BLASDELL BOARD VOWS INTENSE BUDGET STUDY TRUSTEE-ELECT URGES 'HARD LOOK' AT CALL FOR TAX INCREASE OF 9.4 PERCENT

The Blasdell Village Board is expected to take a hard look at a budget proposal that calls for a tax increase of 9.4 percent.

"The new board needs to take a look at the entire budget," Trustee-elect Kathleen Cole said Thursday.

"Perhaps there has to be a tax increase, but does it have to be nearly 10 percent? I don't think the residents of Blasdell can afford one that high." The budget proposed by Mayor Jeffry Zimmerman, who was defeated in Tuesday's election, calls for a tax rate of $11.92 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. That's an increase of $1.02 per $1,000 over the current rate of $10.90.

Zimmerman cited a decrease in assessed valuation of more than $400,000, most of its stemming from the settlement of Bethlehem Steel's assessment-reduction suit. The village also owes Bethlehem a $252,000 tax refund.

Other increases include $28,000 to a total of $232,000 to the Town of Hamburg for police protection and increases in the cost of workmen's compensation and health insurance.

The budget contains no new capital projects.

The board has scheduled a special meeting for 6 p.m. next Friday to begin work on the budget.

It will hold its reorganizational meeting at 7:30 p.m. April 3, when Ernest Jewett will take over as mayor. His election also creates a vacancy on the board which is expected to be filled by appointment at that time.

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