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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

District to get increased state aid

LAKEWOOD -- The Southwestern School Board got some good news this week about the recently adopted state budget.

Superintendent Dan George said the district is receiving about $100,000 more in state aid for the $23.5 million spending plan. The additional aid was part of New York's final, 2007-08 budget.

George said board members want to use the extra money to cut the tax levy.

"What the board decided to do was to take that $100,000 right off the tax levy, so we are able to reduce the tax levy increase from 5.62 percent, to 4.73 percent."

George said a public hearing on the spending plan is set for May 7, with the public vote on May 15, when voters will also consider capital project funding and the purchase of three buses.

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District to vote May 1 on funding for library

BATAVIA -- Voters in the city school district will vote May 1 on the district's appropriation for Richmond Memorial Library's nearly $1.2 million budget for the 2007-08 year.

The amount is $1,075,799, an increase of $41,377, or 4 percent, more than the current appropriation. Salaries and benefits for 13 staff members account for most of the increase. The library also receives funds from Genesee County and the state.

Also on the ballot is a five-year term for library trustee. A two-term incumbent, Elizabeth "Beth" Stitch, is the only candidate. She is the wife of Gary Stitch, a member of the district's Board of Education. Voting will be from noon to 9 p.m. in the library at 19 Ross St.

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Annual drive reaches 97% of $11 million goal

Catholic Charities' annual appeal has reached nearly 97 percent of its $11 million goal, campaign leaders said Thursday.

A total of $711,137 in cash and pledges has been collected since the 2007 appeal went into overtime April 1 with $9.9 million in hand -- 10 percent short of the target. Another $366,631 is needed.

"The progress we've seen just since Palm Sunday has been wonderful," said the Rev. Joseph J. Sicari, diocesan director of Catholic Charities.

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Schumer calls for an end to fees for filing online

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., Wednesday called on the IRS to eliminate fees for filing tax returns online, which he said cost taxpayers in upstate New York almost $22 million this year. Schumer accused the agency of striking deals with paid preparers and software companies that are concerned free e-filing would hit their bottom line. Filing returns online saves the IRS millions in processing expenses, he added.

"The bottom line is that the IRS is imposing an additional 'tax' on people paying their taxes," Schumer told reporters in a conference call. "Filing online eases the burden on the IRS and their idea of thanks is charging a fee."

Schumer said he will be lodging his complaint in a letter to IRS Commissioner Mark Everson.

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