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'LOCK BOX' TAX PAYMENT SYSTEM TO EARN INTEREST

In a move that should put a little extra cash in Town of Tonawanda school coffers, town officials Monday voted to set up a "lock box" system that will allow 1997-98 school taxes to be paid directly to a bank, instead of the town.

"The money goes to work immediately" earning interest, said Town Clerk Cal Champlain.

He said the town's two school districts -- Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda and Sweet Home -- can expect to earn an extra $7,500 in interest from the account with M&T Bank.

The reason is that deposits to the bank can begin earning interest almost immediately. A short lag period occurs when taxes are paid to the town, which then has to deposit the money in the bank, he said.

Councilman Ron Moline said that while the extra earnings are not large, the new setup is "a step in the right direction" and an example of collaboration between school districts and town government.

There is no cost for setting up the new system, which town officials said is the first of its kind in Western New York. Monroe County also uses a lock box system for paying school taxes, Champlain said.

The move is also expected to save the town about $1,500 in personnel costs, he said.

In other business, Supervisor Carl J. Calabrese said there has been an increase in the number of problems related to juveniles breaking into the old grain silos on Military Road -- an abandoned and increasingly dangerous site that local officials have been trying for years to get razed.

Responding to questions from Michael J. Meyers, a Democratic candidate for Town Board in the November election, Calabrese said the upswing in problems at the silos was the result of several panels that had been welded shut being pried open.

Officials have since rewelded the panels.

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