Express News Staff
INDIAN LAKE -- The Indian Lake Central School District Board of Education's first look at the draft budget for the 2014/15 school year, in February, showed it was about $59,600 over the cap on any increase to the tax levy.
Uncertain they could cut enough to bring it under the cap by March 1, the date by which the state requires schools to submit their preliminary budgets and notify it of any intention to exceed the cap if necessary, the board adopted a resolution that would allow it to exceed the cap.
But when the board met March 18, the second draft of the budget, presented by Business Manager Louann Tetrault, showed it had been whittled down to $411 under the cap.
Appropriations now stand at $6,095,136, an increase of about $111,795 or 1.86 percent over the 2013/14 budget of $5,983,341.
The levy (amount to be raised by taxes) stands at $4,567,136. This means the levy would increase about $112,539 or about 2.52 percent. If this increase stands, it means the levy would not exceed the school's estimated 2.53 percent cap.
Even could come down if legislators enact a state budget that provides more aid to schools than projected in the governor's budget.
The BOE has decided to remove the generator from the building project. However, the school will purchase and install one this summer, using about $85,000 accumulated for just such a project.
It also agreed a wood pellet boiler would be a stand-alone project, because it would not cost the school any money. It would be paid for by a grant.
With those two items out of the building project, just two items are left: asbestos removal at an estimated $90,000 and at least one new oil boiler at an estimated $250,000 to $275,000.
That cost could double if both of the school's oil boilers fail before a wood pellet boiler is installed.
The dilemma is due to the state requiring schools to have both a main boiler and a backup. B&C recently inspected the two current boilers, which are over 30 years old, and determined both could fail at any time.
Once the state signs the contracts for the wood pellet boiler, it is unlikely it would be installed before the summer of 2015.
With this in mind, the board agreed to hold a special morning meeting March 27 in the hope it would have confirmation the state has signed the contract. If so, the board would feel safe in purchasing just one oil boiler.
During that meeting the board could decide to seek voter approval to bond up to $600,000 to cover the cost of two oil boilers and asbestos removal, or take the chance one new oil boiler will do.
The ILCS BOE's next regular meeting will be Tuesday, April 8, starting at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria.