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BOARD ADOPTS BUDGET WITH TAX INCREASE

Higher ambulance fees, insurance and retirement costs are responsible for a slight rise in the 2005 spending plan adopted Monday by the Town Board, officials said.

The plan totals $401,830, a 2 percent increase over the 2004 budget, and, according to a Cattaraugus County estimate, will hike the tax rate more than 10 percent to about $13.82 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

Town Supervisor Fritz Zuech said during a public hearing that he was not happy with the Franklinville Fire Department's $3,000 contract increase because a full crew of responders is not always present. The 2005 contract fee for the service is $19,000.

"I think we've done real well this year to keep things in line," Zuech said.

In another matter, the board agreed to hold an informational session to describe preferences for a future zoning ordinance in the town and seemed satisfied that an independent board might have to be set up to make decisions on land use projects.

Zuech and most of the board members agreed they do not want to revive an earlier draft, which set out several land use districts. Instead, members hope to designate a single townwide zone and incorporate within it the town's existing junkyard law and other ordinances.

"We'll be protected from undesirable types of development," Zuech said.

The meeting will take place during the board's Dec. 20 session, which begins at 7 p.m.

At that time, volunteers will be asked to serve on a zoning commission that will draft an ordinance.

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