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The Village Board approved a $749,951 budget Monday for the coming fiscal year before hearing a presentation on a sludge dewatering plant proposal from Zuech Environmental Services of Farmersville.

The spending plan carries a 5 percent property tax increase for village residents, or an additional 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. The estimated tax rate will be $10.42 per $1,000.

To meet expenses and keep the tax rate down, the budget draws $119,300 from the village's reserve fund. The village, therefore, will begin the fiscal year with a balance of $227,000.

A 15-cent rate increase, to $2.75 per 1,000 gallons, will boost the Water Fund, but additional reserves will be used to cover the expenses of the water and sewer funds.

Fritz Zuech has asked the village to treat the wastewater from his proposed 30,000 gallon-per-day sludge transfer station and reviewed details of the project, which also is under review by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

He told the trustees that the facility could treat the village's sludge and eliminate use of the village plant's drying beds, which will save time and about $2,500 a year.

The village also would save as much as $2,250 annually in manpower and disposal fees, along with $7,000 for sludge disposal in winter, when the drying beds cannot be used.

"What I'm here for is to get an OK from the village to proceed," Zuech said, noting he plans a demonstration project with a portable plant for the DEC. "I've spent money on engineering, and they studied your plant. This is as far as I go until I get approval. This is something you want to have in the village."

Zuech said he must construct a metal building before June 1 and begin site work soon.

"If you feel it is not a good thing for the village, I would respect you. I just don't want to spend a lot of money if you don't go through with this," Zuech said.

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