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Reserve fund tapped to avoid tax hike

The Depew Village Board has applied $750,000, about half of its reserve fund, to its current $12.9 million proposed budget so that taxes will not go up.

The board is expected to vote on the 2010-11 spending plan when it meets at 7:30 p.m. April 12. The proposal is about $360,000 more than the $12.5 million budget that passed last year.

"We just cut a little here and a little there, and we were able to get down to zero percent," Mayor Barbara Alberti said.

Village expenses rose this year, with increases in employee-related costs such as health care and pensions, she said.

The board did its best to cut costs it could control, she said. Fire Department requests were trimmed back, including $2,000 in travel expenses cut to $500 and a $1,000 computer upgrade instead of a $2,000 one.

During the current fiscal year, thousands of dollars were saved by having staffers handle building improvements -- work that might have been contracted out previously, said Linda Hammer, the deputy mayor.

Two members of the Department of Public Works helped save money, she said, by painting the walls and doors. They also installed a new counter at the dispatch center and helped clean up an old firing range littered with lead ammunition.

Officials also saved an estimated $20,000 by centralizing the ordering of office supplies, Hammer said. Another $40,000 was saved by centralizing gas purchasing.

"This is what you can do when you really put your heads together and work hard," Hammer said.

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