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Village of Alden residents got a chance last week to review a proposed $1.8 million general fund budget for 2005-06 calling for a 3.95 percent tax increase.

One expenditure that drew a question from the audience was $250,000 set aside for a new fire engine. Officials said the fire engine will be purchased through money from the village's reserve funds.

While some of the tax increase can be attributed to contractual expenses, including health insurance, the village's total assessment faced a major decrease with the loss of the Ames department store on Broadway. Ames accounted for a little more than $1.2 million of the village's assessment -- about half the proposed tax increase, according to Village Administrator Beth Downing.

Other features include an increase of $19.19 to the garbage fund, bringing the total tax to $178.87 per unit. The water and sewer rates will remain at $2.30 per 1,000 gallons and $4.80 per 1,000 gallons, respectively.

The Village Board will vote on the proposed budget April 21. If approved, the proposed tax rate will rise to $9.99 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, an increase of 37 cents. The budget goes into effect on June 1.