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HEARING ON 1997 TOWN BUDGET SET FOR NOV. 4

The Lancaster Town Board Monday scheduled a public hearing on a preliminary 1997 town budget for 8:40 p.m. Nov. 4.

Exact figures for the spending plan are not available but are expected to be complete within 10 days. Officials continue to whittle away at a $2.3 million or 18 percent increase in the $15.2 million tentative 1997 budget.

They canceled 5 percent pay raises for all elected officials except for Highway Superintendent Virgil Paul, who is slated to receive a 6 percent increase to $42,930 a year. Officials said Paul has been underpaid.

They said they are searching for ways to reduce a projected $3.1 million or 42 percent tax levy hike.

They are scheduled to meet Wednesday with Police Chief Thomas Fowler to look into possible cost-cutting measures in the Police Department, which accounts for about two-thirds of the general fund budget, according to David Brown, director of administration and finance.

He said town taxes for residents in the villages of Depew and Lancaster should increase by an average of about $60 a year for a home assessed at $70,000. He said tax rates for residents living outside the villages should rise by an average of about $270 a year for a home assessed at $100,000.

Supervisor Robert Giza, who took office in January, blamed the projected increases on poor fiscal management by former Supervisor Lucian J. Greco. He said Greco depleted surpluses and overestimated revenues resulting in a $772,000 deficit in this year's budget. Greco has denied the charges.

The board OK'd a site plan for Niagara Lutheran Home and Rehabilitation Center of Buffalo to build Greenfield Health and Rehabilitation Center, a 160-bed skilled nursing facility at 5949 Broadway.

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