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The Elma Town Board voted, 3-2, Wednesday night to spend $275,000 to buy 38 acres of land on Bowen Road as the site for a new town hall.

By its action, the board went beyond the recommendation of a citizens committee, which urged the board to buy 14.6 acres of the land, owned by H.G. Klehm.

Supervisor Audrey Murdoch said she favored buying the 38 acres -- 14 acres for the town hall and the rest for potential parkland. She called it "an investment for the future."

Because the land will be purchased with surplus funds, no referendum is necessary.

Council members Bill Cirocco and Dona Reid voted against the purchase.

The asking price for 14.6 acres of the site was $127,368.

Murdoch commended the committee for its diligence and and hard work.

"If we are ever going to have a town hall . . . let's move," she said.

In another matter, town water customers will see a 3 percent increase in water bills beginning Jan. 1.

Water Superintendent Gene Stevenson said this is the first increase from the Erie County Water Authority that he has passed on to Elma water customers since 1996.

Though the Water Authority increased its rates twice during that period, the Elma Water Department was able to absorb the cost, said Stevenson, who said the authority's increase was 9 percent.

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