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TAX RATES HOLD STEADY IN DISTRICTS

The tax rates for special districts in the Town of Lancaster's 2002 budget proposal are the same as the rates in the current 2001 budget.

The Town Board approved the special-districts budget during Monday's regular board meeting. While the tax rates remained the same, the funding levels increased.

The tax rates for the special districts are: $129.54 per unit for refuse; 25 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation for the street lighting district; $1.92 per $1,000 of assessed valuation for fire protection; and $1 per unit plus 10 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation for water districts.

The total appropriation for the refuse district in the 2002 budget is $1.7 million, with a $1.62 million tax levy. For street lighting, the budgeted amount is $280,028; about $272,000 will be raised by taxes. A tax levy of slightly more than $2 million is set for the fire protection budget, which is $2.2 million. Appropriations for the 18 sewer districts located in town total $189,314, of which $188,802 will be raised by taxes. The water district budget is set for $169,024, with a $128,094 tax levy.

The 2002 highway budget also was approved.

For the town outside the Villages of Depew and Lancaster, the highway budget is set at $2.1 million, which is $101,263 higher than the current budget. The $1.89 tax rate remains the same, but the tax levy increased to $1.7 million, up from $1.6 million.

The overall budget amount is $17 million, and for residents living in the town outside the Villages of Lancaster and Depew, the tax rate will drop about half of 1 percent. That means a person who lives in a home assessed at $100,000 would see a $5 tax reduction.

Lancaster village residents will have a reduction of 1.1 percent. Residents who live on the town side of the Depew will see their taxes drop by 1.8 percent.

Included in the overall budget is a 3 percent raise for Town Board members, something council members Georgette F. Pelletterie and Richard D. Zarbo had objected to.

"We have a little surplus. Our state aid will decrease, and we may have to ask employees to tighten their belts. If we're going to ask people to sacrifice, maybe we should set an example," Zarbo said.

Pelletterie noted that she donates her salary to a charity.

Donna G. Stempniak pointed out that elected officials have forgone pay raises in the past.

"In 1996, all elected officials gave up their raises when the board asked for a tax increase," she said.

e-mail: dswilliams@buffnews.com

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