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SUPERVISOR PRESENTS BUDGET THAT HOLDS THE LINE

Town of Tonawanda Supervisor Ronald H. Moline on Monday presented a $66.2 million "hold the line" budget, and the Town Board set work sessions on the spending plan for 7:30 p.m. Oct. 5 and 12 in the Council chambers.

"The 2001 budget has no pay increase for elected officials but will meet all our contractual commitments," Moline said, "and . . . for the fourth consecutive year, taxes for the typical home in the town will be going down."

The tax cut will equal a fraction of a cent. Moline said town taxes will cost the "typical home" -- valued at $50,000 -- $2.14 a day (or $781.10) next year instead of this year's $2.15 per day (or $784.75), a savings of $3.65.

But, Moline said, five years ago, the town tax bill was $2.24 daily, or $817.60 per year, for a $50,000 home.

On the other hand, non-homestead taxpayers -- business and industry -- will see their rate rise by a fraction of a cent.

Town "homestead" (residential) taxes will be $3.93 per $1,000 of valuation, the non-homestead payers will be assessed $7.06 per $1,000.

Both will pay much higher total rates than that, however, because there are complex levies for water, sewer, drainage, garbage collection, lighting districts and highway, some of those computed on square footage or road frontage.

The total tax base for the town is $1,234,685,239 in residential property, up by $4.8 million from 2000. Commercial property value dropped by $5.5 million to $732,732,137. That does not reflect the tax reduction that will be accorded the Huntley power station next year.

Town Assessor David M. Unmack said the town lost that $5.5 million in value because of three lawsuits settled in favor of Benderson Development Co. for a number of plazas; Juliano Development for an apartment complex; and Indek's co-generation power plant.

The town also lost non-homestead revenue because the state lowered some assessments for utilities, he said.

The proposed spending plan is $66,226,880, up 1.73 percent over the current $65,099,087. The amount to be raised by property taxes will be $29,863,286, up a fraction of a percent over the current tax levy of $29,814,266.

Anticipated sales tax income, mortgage tax, investment income and franchise fee revenues are projected to rise 3.8 percent over this year, Moline said, and several revenue increases will also serve to reduce the property tax burden.

Next year, for example, the town will run concession stands at the Brighton and Lincoln arenas, and the Building Department will take over some work from the Village of Kenmore and be reimbursed for that.

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