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$70.31 MILLION TOWN BUDGET NOT YET SET

Cheektowaga Town Board members are hoping to adopt the $70.31 million town budget Monday night, but there might be a few changes made.

Board members are waiting for more information and still have to decide whether to include an additional $800,000 to fully fund the retirement system in next year's budget or delay paying it and borrow the money. The town's finance director, Brian M. Krause, is recommending the town include the entire cost in the budget.

"My view is we should take our lumps and move on. It's not something we should be pushing off to the future," Krause said. "It's not a good practice to bond operating expenses."

The retirement system bill is going up about 20 percent over last year, and Krause said he will come up with figures on how much the full retirement system bill would cost taxpayers.

The board traditionally adopts the budget the day before Election Day, although last year it waited until mid-November.

"I think it is going to be passed Monday, barring any unforeseen events," Supervisor Dennis H. Gabryszak said.

Board members continue to make minor adjustments to the spending plan, and have added a full-time building inspector and upgraded a part-time plumbing inspector to full-time. The original plan was to eliminate two part-time building inspectors and create one full-time position, now the two part-time positions would be kept.

On the revenue side, Krause said there is a firmer figure for payments in lieu of taxes, and it's up by $100,000.

"That's helping us with the additional building department folks," he said.

Under the tentative budget, town residents living outside the villages of Sloan and Depew would see their tax rate increase by $1.37 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, or 7.85 percent, to $18.78 per $1,000. The tax rate includes the general fund, highway fund and consolidated garbage and general lighting districts. It does not include the tax rate for sanitary sewer, drainage, hydrant or water districts.

Depew residents would see an increase of 8.06 percent, to $11.82 per $1,000, and Sloan residents would have an increase of 7.15 percent, to $13.20 per $1,000. The few Village of Williamsville taxpayers inside the town would pay $13.20 per $1,000, an increase of 7.15 percent.

e-mail: bobrien@buffnews.com

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