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As health insurance, retirement costs rise, so does budget outlay -- up 4.2%

Kenmore officials say they have done a great job controlling village expenses -- the ones they can.

That said, the 2007-08 budget approved this week carries a property tax increase attributed primarily to expenses beyond their control.

Spending is up by 4.2 percent in the almost $14 million budget. Property taxes will be increasing by 5.9 percent.

For homeowners, the rate is going from $22.76 per $1,000 of assessed valuation to $24.12 per $1,000. For an average home assessed at $50,000, the increase would be $68.

The non-homestead rate is rising from $38.63 per $1,000 to $40.57 per $1,000.

Mayor John W. Beaumont said the tax increase is mostly because of increases in health insurance and state retirement costs. Health premiums are up by 15.4 percent, despite concessions from village employees to cut benefits, he said.

Operation and maintenance costs associated with the Town of Tonawanda's sanitary sewer plant, which treats the village's wastewater, also are going up, he said. Those costs have risen by more than $340,000 during the last two fiscal years, Beaumont noted.

"Kenmore has kept excellent control over those expenses over which it has immediate control," Beaumont said. "There have been virtually no increases to department budgets in over five years."

The mayor added, "The . . . budget will maintain its high level of services, including emergency services provided by the Kenmore Police and Fire departments."

Beaumont also praised the performance of police officers, firefighters and members of the Department of Public Works in dealing with October's destructive snowstorm and its aftermath.

The tax levy of almost $7.4 million is 63 percent of the constitutional limit, the mayor said, and village debt accounts for roughly 20 percent of what is allowed.

e-mail: jhabuda@buffnews.com

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