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Lockport Council trims city tax increase; vote slated next week

LOCKPORT - The Common Council's alterations to the proposed 2017 city budget have reduced the planned tax increase, Mayor Anne E. McCaffrey said at a public hearing Wednesday.

The $24.2 million spending plan is actually about $8,000 higher than the tentative version submitted to the State Comptroller's Office last month. But the tax rate increase will be 2.89 percent instead of the 3.65 percent in the original version. The tax bill for the owner of a typical home assessed at $85,000 will rise $42 instead of the $52 increase in the original.

McCaffrey and Council President David R. Wohleben said they think this is the final version to be voted on by the Council next week, but Alderwoman Anita Mullane, D-2nd Ward, disagreed, saying there could be further cuts proposed. The budget already assumes that the city marina will be privatized, saving about $10,000.

Finance Director Scott A. Schrader said the primary means of reducing the tax increase was some fiscal sleight-of-hand. The Council transferred $107,000 into the tax-supported general fund from the water, sewer and refuse funds to "pay" for the proportion of work city officials do on activities related to water, sewer and refuse. McCaffrey said there will be no fee increases in the latter three funds in 2017.

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