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Tax cap, equipment budget discussed at Indian River board meeting

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PHILADELPHIA — If Indian River Central wanted to, it could approve an 18.7 percent tax levy hike without a supermajority vote.

Business Manager James R. Koch discussed the 2013-14 tax cap calculation, Board of Cooperative Educational Services proposals and furniture and equipment recommendations at the district Board of Education meeting Thursday.

Mr. Koch clarified that the levy increase will not be anywhere near 18 percent.

“I simply want to reassure you that our intent is to bring you a budget recommendation where the levy is well under the maximum allowed by the law without the supermajority,” he said. “The calculation is based on an eight-step formula and exclusions, such as local capital costs and pension contribution.”

The formula is based the current year’s levy, tax-based growth, payment-in-lieu-of-tax agreements in the past or future and the carryover from last year’s tax cap.

“There is a perception that you can’t go above 2 percent,” said Mr. Koch. “Most calculations will not arrive at 2 percent.”

Before exclusions, the district could raise about $3 million locally through the levy. After the exclusions, the levy limit is increased to about $3.75 million.

In the BOCES overview, Mr. Koch said the district should reserve 80 occupational education slots, 15 diploma-based alternative education slots and four occupational therapists, among other recommendations.

The number of diploma-based alternative education slots recommended is down five from the current year’s agreement.

The furniture and equipment proposal, which includes 15, 72-passenger buses for $1.4 million; three 72-passenger buses with luggage racks for $317,429; vacuums, trombones and a bookcase, among a variety of other items, will eat up about $2.3 million of the 2013-14 budget.

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