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Board OKs budget that hikes taxes 8%, avoids worker layoff

A budget that avoids the layoff of a sanitation worker and hikes taxes by nearly 8 percent was approved Monday night by the Hamburg Village Board.

The $7,069,000 budget has been revised numerous times, and the final version hikes taxes by $1.09 per $1,000 of assessed valuation to $14.84, or 41 cents more than the proposed rate at the time of the public hearing a week earlier.

The action came as a pleasant surprise to Scott Gabel, the least senior member of the Department of Public Works, who faced the loss of his job.

"You can't imagine what a relief it is," said Gabel, who has a wife and a 7-month-old son.

A review of the contract with the DPW union revealed that if anyone had been laid off, the village would have been prohibited from hiring any summer workers. As it stands now, it will hire only two, rather than the usual four.

Gerald E. Knoll, superintendent of public works, made the board aware of the contract provision when he returned from vacation, Trustee Daniel S. O'Connell said.

The job was going to be eliminated because of the county takeover of the sanitary sewer system. An unfilled job was previously eliminated.

However, Knoll said additional federal regulations concerning storm sewers make the job necessary and the 25-member department will be hard-pressed during the summer vacation period.

"It's going to be an interesting summer, but I feel we can get the work done," he said.

O'Connell and Mayor Curt S. Herrmann leave office Monday, but Herrmann said he felt it was the current board's responsibility to adopt a budget that takes effect June 1 rather than leaving it for the new board.

Mayor-elect Thomas Moses said he appreciates that.

Herrmann, who did not seek a second term, closed his last meeting by saying, "Thanks for the memories. It's been a heck of a four years."

O'Connell, who was defeated by Michael Cerrone, said later that he wouldn't have traded the last four years for anything. "The best part was the hundreds of wonderful people I met," he said.

e-mail: ternst@buffnews.com

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