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SUPERVISOR'S BUDGET PLAN CARRIES 1% TAX HIKE

Town of Aurora property owners would see a 1 percent tax increase throughout the town and village under the 2002 budget proposed by Town Supervisor Thomas Cotton.

The $5.5 million proposal would be an increase of $56,000 from this year's budget, with $3.1 million to be raised by taxes.

The tax rate in the town outside the Village of East Aurora would increase to $4.53 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, from $4.41; the village tax rate would increase to $2.42 per $1,000, from $2.36.

In a sparsely attended public hearing Monday night, Cotton presented the preliminary budget, which calls for a 3 percent salary increase for all employees, as well as a $34,370 debt-service increase for financing requirements on the new senior citizens center, a new parks maintenance building and the acquisition of parkland.

Cotton said he feels confident that the budget is responsible and reflects "the normal pay increases and spending we have through contract negotiations and labor contracts."

Councilman Jeffrey Harris said, "We have good people working for us, and in order to keep good people, you have to increase pay from time to time."

Last year, residents saw a 13.5 percent tax increase so the town could replenish its reserve fund, which was depleted through the years.

"The increase (for 2002) could be what to expect in the future," said Arthur Traver Jr., town auditor.

e-mail: jloft@buffnews.com

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