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NEW WATER DISTRICT BUMPS UP SPENDING IN 2005 BUDGET

Newstead Supervisor Gerald F. Summe has released a $3.6 million spending plan for 2005 that would increase spending 12.5 percent.

Summe said the bulk of the additional spending is a result of a 30 percent increase in water district costs, as the town will be adding another water district, increasing the total from 10 to 11.

"The major amount of the increase is due to the formation of a new district," Summe said.

"Water district tax rates have dropped in all districts except Water District 9, where there was a slight increase. Appropriations are up slightly in the fire protection district. The cost of refuse and garbage collection has increased mainly because of fuel and transportation cost," he added.

Summe said the cost associated with refuse should remain stable because the town has a long-term contract in place for hauling and disposing garbage. The refuse tax rate would increase to $1.42 per $1,000 of assessed valuation from $1.37 per $1,000 in 2004.

Under his preliminary budget plan, the tax rate would decrease 10 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation to $1.62 per $1,000.

The total tax level would increase 13.3 percent to $1.87 million from $1.65 million in 2004. Summe said the town is in sound financial condition, and has used state and federal grants to improve town facilities and infrastructure, including establishing a new water district, highway improvements, amenities at the new senior center and improvements to be made at the new Town Hall.

In addition to borrowing $550,000, the town will use $150,000 it anticipates receiving from the sale of the current Town Hall property to help fund the purchase and renovation of the Strippit Training Center that will house the new Town Hall. The town also has received a $100,000 state grant and will use $150,000 from its current $250,000 surplus to help fund the $2.4 million cost of that project.

Summe said a $2 million federal grant, along with a $4.5 million zero-interest loan, will help the town complete construction of Phase 1 and Phase 1B of Water District 10 during the coming year.

He added that two of the town's largest needs -- a new senior center and town hall -- have been addressed to better serve the community.

In a recently released budget message, Summe pointed out that the senior center is completed and paid for.

"Over 450 of our seniors are members and enjoying the many programs offered there," Summe said, adding that the town borrowed $550,000 of short-term money to help finance the new Town Hall project on Clarence Center Road.

"It will be completely handicap accessible and have ample parking," Summe said. "The property also has almost five acres of undeveloped land that can be used in the future for town needs."

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