Express News Staff
LONG LAKE - The draft Long Lake Central School District budget for 2013/14 shows 2.5 percent more spending but a 4.217 percent jump in the tax levy, thanks to a 13.5 percent decrease in revenues.
The Board of Education held a public hearing on the draft budget Thursday, Feb. 14. It shows $3,996,613 in appropriations, up $96,462 or 2.5 percent from this year’s $3.9 million. The 2011/12 budget was $3.97 million.
Subtracting projected revenues leaves $2.8 million to be raised by taxes. This would result in a tax rate of $4.1774 per $1,000 of assessed value, an increase of 4.217 percent. This year’s tax rate was $3.7527.
The decrease of $186,478 (-13.5 percent) in revenues is mainly due to a reduction of $96,940 in state aid, a reduction of $71,512 in appropriated fund balance applied to reduce taxes and a reduction of $14,826 in BOCES aid.
The calculation to determine the allowed increase in the tax levy shows 3.3064 percent. The tax levy as it now stands is up 4.217 percent, .91 percent over the cap.
For a $100,000 home, this means the school tax would increase by $42.17, from $375.27 for the current school year to $417.44.
Under the draft budget, the BOE would need to reduce the tax levy by $200,000 to keep below the cap.
Each school district must submit its tax levy limit by March 1 to the Office of the State Comptroller, the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance and the state Education Department.
Districts are not required to have proposed budgets available by March 1.
If voters turn down a proposed budget (two votes allowed), the BOE must adopt a budget with a tax levy no greater than that of the current school year.
NYS has a property tax cap, not a “2 percent cap” as it is commonly called. The property tax cap limits the amount a school district tax levy may be increased, not the individual tax bill of resident taxpayers.
A school district may exceed the tax cap if a budget is approved by at least 60 percent of voters.
After reviewing the draft budget, retired teacher Michael Farrell said, “Everything you do should be in the best interests of the kids. I suggest you not make any cuts in programs and find out if the public will support this school.”
Resident Tom Bissell had no objections concerning the budget but chose to support Superintendent Mary Jo Dickerson by saying, “Ms. Dickerson has done a wonderful job for this school and I stand 100 percent behind her.”
With no one from the public objecting to going over the cap on the tax levy, the board voted unanimously to exceed the cap if necessary to protect programs. However, the members also agreed to see if any non-program cuts could be made.
The LLCS Board of Education will next meet Thursday, March 14, starting at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria.