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A 2005-06 school budget that reflects a property tax hike of less than 2 percent was adopted by the Niagara-Wheatfield School Board Wednesday.

The board OK'd a $54 million budget with a 1.66 percent tax increase. The original plan called for a 2.7 percent hike.

A state aid boost allowed the board to apply more than $302,000 against the tax levy, according to school business executive Kerin Dumphrey. He said the added money came from the state Legislature, which earmarked more for the district than was in the governor's budget. For every $230,000 that is applied, the rate is lowered by 1 percent, he noted.

If approved by voters, the average tax increase would be about $25 annually on a home valued at $90,000, he said.

The budget includes an overall spending increase of 4 percent. The public hearing for the budget gets under way at 7 p.m. May 4. Voters will go to the polls, in Errick Road Elementary School, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. May 17.

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