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Budget contains no raises for most workers Only police would get contracted increases

Orchard Park's preliminary budget for next year provides no raises for most employees.

If employees do receive pay increases, the town might have to consider layoffs, Supervisor Mary Travers Murphy said.

The salaries of many taxpayers, she said, have been frozen or reduced, while others have lost their jobs.

"It's unfair to our taxpayers who are bankrolling this, especially when the total compensation packages are skyrocketing," Travers Murphy said.

The preliminary budget includes raises only for police, whose contracts call for a 3.75 percent increase.

But all elected, appointed, non-union and part-time workers, as well as those in the white- and blue-collar unions -- whose contracts will expire Dec. 31 -- would get no raises, except for step increases where required.

Wayne Drescher, the town's accountant, said the budget contains no hidden money for raises that might be negotiated, and the alternative to layoffs would be raising taxes or cutting back on something else.

"You need hard dollar savings to offset the wage increases," Drescher said, but he added, "Nobody's saying they don't deserve a raise."

Spending in the general fund and highway budgets totals $14.74 million, up 1.8 percent over this year.

The general and highway fund tax rate for residents living in the Village of Orchard Park would be $5.52 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, up 3.5 percent. The general and highway fund tax rate for those living outside the village would be $5.43 per $1,000 of assessed value, up 3.78 percent. That's about $30 dollars a year for the owner of a home assessed at $150,000.

Travers Murphy said she ready is at work with the board to reduce the tax rate.

"I felt anything more severe than I've proposed needed the consensus of the full board and and the brain power of the full board," she said.

Factors affecting the budget include a significant decline in mortgage tax and interest earnings this year, Drescher said. Sales tax revenue is down from last year but should total more than was budgeted, he added.

Total assessments are nearly the same as last year, showing an increase of 0.7 percent. Last year, total assessments rose 1.4 percent.

The budget contains no significant spending additions, Drescher said.

e-mail: bobrien@buffnews.com

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