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LEWISTON – The Town Board is expected to present a $17.2 million 2014 preliminary budget during a public hearing at 6 p.m. Thursday in Town Hall, 1375 Ridge Road.

The 2014 plan is expected to keep tax rates the same, at $1.78 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, and unveils a plan to reduce water bills.

“We’d also like to find a way to cut into these special district taxes as well,” said Councilman Ernest C. Palmer. Expenses in special districts, such as sewer, water improvement, fire and refuse, have increased for 2014, but fund balance money was used to keep rates the same, said Finance Director Michael A. Johnson.

Johnson said water bills are expected to drop in the form of a $10 monthly rebate, courtesy of New York Power Authority relicensing money. That sum will be applied to water bills in both the town and village.

“We are using the money that we are [obtaining by] selling power off the grid through an escrow company and [with] the revenues we get we are knocking down the water bills,” Johnson said.

If the 2014 budget is approved as is, employees would receive a 3 percent increase in their salaries, with salaries of board members and supervisors remaining the same.

The town clerk’s salary would decrease more than $10,000 because a new person is stepping in to replace longtime clerk Carol J. Brandon, who is expected to announce her retirement, according to Johnson.

The salary of Highway Superintendent Douglas A. Janese would increase from $68,135 to $70,181; that of the clerk would decrease from $58,739 to $48,672; pay for two justices would increase from $26,601 to $27,399; supervisor’s pay remains at $41,906; and four councilmen would be paid $13,856 each.

The 2014 preliminary budget of $17.2 million is up from the current $16.6 million and the 2014 tax levy of $2.47 million is up from the current $2.45 million.

A final budget must be adopted by Nov. 20.

email: nfischer@buffnews.com