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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

>Initial budget plan carries 2.9% increase

Spending in Hamburg schools would increase by about 2.9 percent under the $48.2 million preliminary budget for 2006-07, Business Administrator Thomas Bagley told the School Board on Tuesday.

Superintendent Peter Roswell called it a "modest" increase. He said it compared favorably with the contingency budget cap of 4.1 percent, one of the highest percentages in recent years.

"There's not a lot of room to maneuver in this budget. The expense side took heavy shots with insurance and pension costs. We know we're not going to get a lot of additional financial aid," he said.

Employee salaries and benefits make up 77 percent of the budget, Bagley said.

The proposal calls for applying $1.1 million, or more than half, of the fund balance to the revenue side of the budget to keep the tax hike reasonable, Bagley said.

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