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NIAGARA NEWS BRIEFS

>Officials want to sidestep court hearing on tax break

LOCKPORT -- State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. has scheduled a May 7 hearing on several issues pertaining to the property tax break for AES Corp., but the Town of Somerset doesn't want to take part.

The town last week filed a motion asking to be let out of the hearing.

Robert S. Roberson, attorney for the town, said he sees no need for a hearing because there are no questions of fact that need to be answered, only legal arguments that Kloch needs to decide on.

Roberson said Tuesday night that he doubts his motion, to be argued April 26, will be granted. But he said filing it will have an impact on the town's expected appeal of Kloch's March 22 decision to dismiss large chunks of its suit -- not to mention his eventual ruling on what's left.

Somerset, Niagara County and the Barker Central School District are suing AES and the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency over a tax break the IDA granted for AES' Somerset power plant. It will cost the taxing entities an estimated $43.4 million over the deal's 12-year life.

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>Village budgets adopted in Wilson, Middleport

The villages of Wilson and Middleport adopted their proposed 2007-08 budgets following public hearings Monday night.

The Wilson Village Board adopted a $1.2 million budget. The vote raises taxes 29 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, for a new tax rate of $8.15 per $1,000.

Middleport trustees agreed to a $1.5 million budget, holding the line on taxes at $8.40 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

The Youngstown Village Board will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. April 12 in Village Hall, 240 Lockport St.

Barker trustees plan to adopt a proposed $371,171 budget at their next meeting Monday.

The village held its public hearing March 12. The proposed budget holds the line on taxes at $7.50 per $1,000 of assessed value.

Lewiston will hold a public hearing on its proposed budget at 6 p.m. April 16 in Village Hall, 145 N. Fourth St.; village officials have yet to provide budget numbers.

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>Professor will speak, sign books, read poems

LEWISTON -- Robert M. Gianetti, a Lewiston bookstore owner and adjunct professor at Niagara University, will read from and sign copies of his new book of poems, "Drawn by the Creek," from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Castellani Art Museum at Niagara University.

Gianetti, who holds a doctorate in Renaissance literature, will begin the event with a lecture on "Words and Books: Spiritual and Material," before taking up his poems. He is the owner of Bob's Olde Books.

The afternoon will also include a tour of the gallery's current exhibit of works by artist Leslie Dill, entitled "A Fine Line."

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