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LOCKPORT -- The city may run an operating deficit of as much as $800,000 in its general fund this year, City Treasurer James W. Ashcraft Jr. has warned.

Ashcraft said if his projection is accurate, the city will use all of the $620,000 in surplus it customarily inserts into its annual budget, and will dip into its unappropriated surplus for another $180,000 to balance the books at the end of the year.

"We will spend more than we take in this year," he said. "It's not a good trend."

Ashcraft said the city has about $2.2 million in its unappropriated fund balance, so it can withstand the shortfall. But Mayor Thomas C. Sullivan last week urged department heads to avoid unnecessary spending for the rest of the year.

Budget Director Richard P. Mullaney blamed the deficit on declining sales tax revenues, caused by the slumping economy and by Lockport's population decrease in the 2000 census. All municipalities' shares of the county's sales tax revenue are based on population, and Lockport is now receiving a smaller slice of the pie.

Most stores heed cigarette sales law

LOCKPORT -- Only 7 percent of the Niagara County stores checked for compliance with the law against selling cigarettes to minors were caught in violation during the year that ended Sept. 30.

County Environmental Health Director James J. Devald reported that 195 checks were made, primarily by teenagers hired by the Health Department or by local police entering the store and trying to buy cigarettes. Fourteen stores sold the cigarettes to the minors; they were fined a total of $5,150.

Devald said the compliance figures were comparable to the two preceding years.

The Lockport, Niagara Falls and North Tonawanda police departments all signed agreements with the county to assist in the enforcement effort and receive a share of the fines paid.

Trick-or-treat times in Niagara County

NIAGARA FALLS -- Trick-or-treaters will have many opportunities to seek out goodies on Halloween, with varying hours in all of the municipalities throughout Niagara County. The list follows, with the villages, towns and cities that have announced trick-or-treating times all sticking with the Wednesday date for collecting treats:

City and Town of Lockport, Town of Niagara, Wheatfield, Town and Village of Wilson -- 4 to 7 p.m.

Niagara Falls -- 3 to 7 p.m.

North Tonawanda -- 5 to 8 p.m.

Cambria, Hartland, Pendleton -- No specific hours.

Town of Lewiston -- 4 to 8 p.m.

Porter and Youngstown -- 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Royalton and Middleport -- 4:30 to 6 p.m.

Somerset and Barker -- 5 to 7 p.m.

Veterans Appreciation Day planned

TOWN OF NIAGARA -- Town Supervisor Steven C. Richards and members of the Niagara Falls Elks Lodge No. 346 have joined together to affirm November as National Veterans Remembrance Month.

Nov. 11, the members of the lodge have planned a full day of festivities, beginning with a closed luncheon to honor veterans who are members of the lodge as well as patients from the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Buffalo.

At 4 p.m., the doors will open to the public for a Veterans Appreciation Day celebration in honor of all the men and women who serve and who have served in our armed forces. Entertainment and refreshments will be available.

Beilein announces union endorsements

LOCKPORT -- Sheriff Thomas A. Beilein said he has received endorsements for his re-election campaign from the unions that represent almost all the Sheriff's Department's employees.

The Democrat, seeking his third term, has received the official backing of the Niagara County Deputy Sheriff's Association, which bargains for corrections officers; the Niagara County Police Benevolent Association, which represents the patrol officers and investigators; and the Civil Service Employees Association local that includes the department's clerical staff.

In addition, Beilein said he has received the endorsement of the Niagara-Orleans Labor Council, AFL-CIO, which counts more than 50 unions among its membership; the United Auto Workers, United Steelworkers, Communications Workers of America, International Union of Operating Engineers and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Beilein is running against Lockport Detective Lt. Richard L. Podgers, the Republican nominee in the Nov. 6 election.

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