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Grand Island Town Board faces 20 percent hike in sewer costs for 2018

The Grand Island Town Board must decide whether to override the 2 percent state tax cap or dig into its fund balance to pay for sewer upgrades in its 2018 budget.

The town's supervising accountant, Pam Barton, said the town must repay debt on $13 million in sewer upgrades, of which $10 million were state-mandated. That would increase the town's sewer costs by 20 percent.

"Schools are allowed to exclude capital projects (in the tax cap,) but towns, counties and cities are not. That infrastructure is our bottom line," said Barton.

Supervisor Nathan McMurray said he opposes "depleting our cash reserves" and said it was unfair because the 30 percent of residents without sewers will have to help pay for the upgrades.

The board reached no consensus Tuesday. It is expected to vote on the issue on Sept. 18.

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