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Proposed budget would hike taxes by $20 per household

Mayor Frank Pagano on Monday night unveiled a proposed 2006-07 budget that would hike taxes an average of $20 per household.

During a special meeting of the Village Board, Pagano proposed a tax rate increase of 80 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, to $29.40.

The budget, which includes the general, water and sewer funds, totals $8.35 million, an increase in spending from 2005-06 of 2.8 percent.

"To balance the budget, I am transferring excess monies from our water fund balance in the amount of $86,000," Pagano said.

Pagano pointed to shortcomings and lessons from the 2005-06 budget.

"Last year, when I presented the budget," he said, "I had no idea that fuel costs would jump 40 percent and natural gas would jump 30 percent. Because of these unexpected costs, we were forced to transfer money from our general fund balance to cover our fuel and gas costs for the remainder of this budget year."

The mayor said no major capital projects are planned in 2006-07 and described the village as in "good financial condition."

"But I caution you," he added, "the next several years will be very difficult. The continuous mandates and the inability to raise revenues could lead to higher taxes or the elimination of services."

Asked if he supports the county's proposal to cut the heating fuel sales tax, Pagano said he supports the concept -- but only if it doesn't harm the villages and towns.

"We have no revenues that would make up the difference," he said. "We need to be held harmless if the heating fuel tax is cut so property taxes won't have to increase."

The budget will be discussed in a public hearing that gets under way at 7:30 p.m. April 3 during a reorganization meeting in Village Hall, when a new administrator is expected to be appointed.

The budget must be passed by May 1.

In other business:

* Rex Goot of Cassadaga and Michael Napierala of Dunkirk were appointed part-time police officers. They will be paid $12 an hour.

* The board meets in Village Hall on Monday, with a workshop at 6:30 p.m. and regular meeting at 7:30.

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