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Thanks mostly to a slight uptick in the residential tax base, Tonawanda town taxes dip by an average of nearly 1 percent under a tentative 1998 budget unveiled Monday night.

The tentative budget is $61,247,994, an increase of 1.9 percent over last year's spending plan. Taxes will see a decline, on average, of .92 percent, said Town Supervisor Carl J. Calabrese.

The reason is the town's total assessed homestead valuation increased slightly due to home improvements and many homes with exemptions were sold, eliminating the tax breaks. Calabrese said the town also ended up with $500,000 left over from the insurance money to rebuild the town's highway garage. He said that extra money also was used to reduce taxes.

The proposed budget includes a cushion to finance raises for the Town Board, Calabrese, police and white-collar workers. Negotiations with police and salaried workers have just started, Calabrese said, but raises for himself and the board won't be decided until January.

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