MONROE-The Monroe Town Board has adopted a $10.28 million budget for next year that carries with it an 8.5 percent increase over current levels. The preliminary budget had projected a 9.9 percent increase before town officials made cuts and adjustments. Supervisor Sandy Leonard said that property owners in the town of Monroe will see an increase in the property tax rate of between 5 and 6 percent. However, property owners in the villages of Monroe, Harriman and Kiryas Joel can expect a decrease of between 3 and 4 in their town tax bill. This means that a village homeowner can expect to pay $20.82 less than in 2004 town taxes on a home assessed at $50,000. That same home in the town will be assessed $51.40 more than in 2004 for town taxes. This spending plan includes the $922,550 for the Monroe Library General Fund that has been passed by the voters. A detail review of the figures, particularly regarding vehicle purchases and maintenance, resulted in adjustments to the budget that account for the reduction from the preliminary figures. For instance, a preliminary line item totalling $12,500 for operations and repair in the Dial-A-Bus budget was reduced to $9,000. A question was raised concerning the $40,000 budgeted for the service awards program for the Lakeside Fire District. Village resident John Karl said he felt that this type of expenditure required a public referendum. The budget was adopted with a codicil that Town Attorney Kevin Dowd research the matter and the board will then take any necessary action regarding this expenditure.