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TOWN BOARD ADOPTS $3.08 MILLION BUDGET

Despite residents' suggestions the town keep its tax rate at current levels, the Eden Town Board Wednesday adopted a $3.08 million spending plan for 1997 that reduces the rate by 4.8 percent.

A tax rate of $4.53 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, a reduction of 23 cents, will raise $1,831,624 in taxes to cover $458,755 for general fund expenditures, $678,793 in highway appropriations and special district taxes of $150,228 for fire, $59,390 for lighting, $85,386 for water and $409,072 for refuse and garbage.

Although $53,000 or 2 percent more will be spent for some personnel and contractual department items, approximately $35,000 less in taxes will be needed because of increased revenues next year, said Councilman Peter Ruh.

An additional $14,000 for drainage improvement, $20,000 for a Police Department sick days reserve and $10,000 for a building maintenance fund accounted for some of the increases, said Ruh.

Will Smutz suggested the proposed tax decrease instead be used to fund the planned building maintenance program while Richard Szalasny suggested additional funding be used to bolster police protection to 24 hours.

Linda Nellis cautioned officials on cutting the budget. "If we do, we'll be playing catchup down the road."

Brett Hammond suggested reinstating the original $30,000 proposed for the supervisor's salary.

Although officials said they anticipate increasing the supervisor's salary in the 1998 budget, the proposed $12,500 salary for 1997 will remain.

Supervisor John Tsakos is limited in the amount he can earn due to pension restrictions.

In another matter, the board voted, 4-1, to approve an additional $9,100 for consultant services provided by T-Z Associates in preparing the comprehensive master plan. The amount is in addition to $6,900 previously paid.

Ruh voted against the measure. He earlier said he was against the escalating cost of the project.

Preparation of a master plan has been ongoing since 1994. The present agreement includes developing a population forecast to 2015.

The plan will provide the town with guidelines in land development for residential and industrial use and is important to future town growth, said Councilman George Zittel.

Tsakos said he would adhere to the proposed schedule to avoid any further increase in preparation cost.

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