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TOWN AIMS TO HOLD LINE ON SPENDING

In what could be called more of a chill than a freeze on spending, Cheektowaga town employees are being told to hold the line on spending.

Supervisor Dennis H. Gabryszak said a memo will be distributed to department heads Monday directing them to get authorization from the Town Board for purchases and overtime for the rest of the year.

"Whatever we can squeeze out and help out the budget," he said.

Gabryszak said the tax increase for next year, which was projected to be 13 percent in the tentative budget he filed with the town clerk, is down to about 12.3 percent.

The reduction in taxes came from a revision of assessment figures and some changes in highway spending, he said.

"I know we'll get it down from 12 percent," he said.

The supervisor said he also will reduce his salary by $396. That will bring it to $71,000. The supervisor also receives an additional $5,000 for his work as budget director.

A public hearing on the budget will be held at 6 p.m. Monday in Town Hall, Broadway and Union Road.

But to save money in this year's budget, board members decided Wednesday evening that any purchases and overtime must have prior authorization. Gabryszak said the authorizations would come from the council liaisons to the various departments, rather than the board. The guidelines are still being developed.

"I'm going to want it in writing," he said.

He said department heads will get forms for tracking the request.

"We'll summarize them on a weekly basis," he said.

The board will work on reducing overtime costs in the 2002 budget as well, the supervisor said.

It's not known how much will be saved this year, but it could be as much as $200,000 and will help reduce the use of next year's fund balance, he said.

e-mail: bobrien@buffnews.com

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