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DeWitt passes delayed budget

After failing to pass the previous week, the DeWitt town board passed a 2008 budget with a vote of four to one. A special meeting was held on Nov. 20 with the express purpose of adopting the budget. On Nov. 12, board members failed to pass the proposed budget. The proposal calls for a decrease in the tax rate by .18 percent to a total of 4.17 percent. The total budget is $14,946,774.

Trustees Irene Scruton, Kenneth Andrews, Joseph Simonetta, and Supervisor Jim Di Stefano all voted in favor of the budget. Trustee, and soon to be supervisor, Edward Michakenko voted against the budget. Trustees Joan Schroder and Robert Faulkner were absent from the meeting.

During the discussion, town resident John Coleman spoke to the board. Coleman has completed and reviewed budgets for businesses, and is employed as a financial advisor. He said that the budget is not clear enough for the town's people to understand. Coleman sat down by himself and crunched the numbers after the Nov. 12 meeting.

Coleman said he wanted to better understand where the money was going. He said he would like to see a better presentation for next year's budget.

Board members thanked Coleman for speaking to them. Scruton encouraged Coleman to attend the comptrollers quarterly budget meeting in front of the board.

Michalenko reiterated his previous problems with the budget. He said that he felt the total budget increase was too high. He also said that the highway department's budget was large as well. Comptroller John Curulla told Michalenko that once he takes over as supervisor he can make changes to the budget by not allowing some purchases to go through or by telling departments not to spend over a certain amount.

DiStefano said that many of the increases were due to rising cost of health care and gasoline. Scruton said that the general, part town, and highway budget increase along with the cost of living. She also said that with all the new housing developments, the amounts would keep increasing.

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