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$21.1 million spending plan unveiled

The City Council has introduced a $21.1 million spending plan for the fiscal year that begins April 1, giving property owners a modest increase in taxes for the second consecutive year.

The budget, submitted Monday by City Manager Jason R. Molino, is slightly higher than the one for the current year. The new projected property tax levy is 16 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, about the same as this year and far from the double-digit hikes the city experienced as recently as 2008 as it went through years of operating deficits.

The amount to be raised by taxes is $5.6 million and will cost the average homeowner about $14 more next year.

The budget will be the subject of a public hearing at the Feb. 14 City Council meeting. It must be adopted by March 31.

One new item is restoring the position of an economic developer. The proposed coordinator is an answer to citizen complaints in a survey that showed job growth is the city's most pressing problem.

The city would pay $10,000, and most of the balance of the suggested $55,000 salary would come from the Batavia Development Corp.'s revolving loan program and possible state or federal grants. The job -- long held by Edward R. Flynn -- was abolished a few years ago.

The public hearing will include proposed raises in water fees, also effective April 1. The 3 percent hike is far less than double-digit hikes of only three years ago.

The Council also set two public hearings on a $400,000 federal community block small cities grant. It is designed to enable low- and moderate-income homeowners to make improvements in houses "in greatest need of rehabilitation."

The hearings will be held Feb. 28 and March 28 in the Council Chambers in City Hall.

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