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Tax increase in budget is lower than last year's

Depew property owners would see a tax increase under a preliminary budget released Monday, but not nearly as high an increase as they've seen the past three years.

The proposed $10.6 million spending plan prepared by Mayor Joseph G. McIntosh would boost the tax rate by 4.27 percent, compared with last year's increase of 6.7 percent, 14.8 percent the year before that and nearly 10 percent in the 2003-2004 fiscal year.

A public hearing will be held April 10 on the mayor's preliminary budget. The Village Board must adopt a budget by the end of April.

"It's the same old things," McIntosh said Monday in response to questions about what expenses account for the increase in spending.

"Retirement costs, and we're looking at an increase of over $100,000 in energy costs in both heating and gasoline. [The preliminary budget] also includes $150,000 in raises," he added.

The village is in negotiations with all of its municipal unions, including the Police Benevolent Association, whose members have been working without a contract for nearly two years.

Spending for the Police Department, which accounts for more than a third of the village budget, would increase $73,088, to $2.3 million, not including the $423,730 the village must pay the state for the police retirement fund. That expense rose more than $120,000 from the current year's cost.

Total employee benefits costs under the plan would increase $102,000, to nearly $2.5 million

If the mayor's budget is adopted unchanged by the Village Board, the tax rate would rise to $18.76 per $1,000 of assessed value from the current $17.99 per $1,000.

"I look forward to input from the rest of the board and the department heads," McIntosh said after Monday's Village Board meeting.

McIntosh noted, as he has in the past, that there were eight consecutive years of tax decreases in the village 1995-1996 to 2002-2003.

e-mail: hmcneil@buffnews.com

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