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Canton school board adopts budget with 2.56 percent tax levy hike

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CANTON — Taxpayers in the Canton Central School District will be asked to approve a budget that increases the school tax levy by 2.56 percent when they go the polls May 20.

School board members unanimously approved the $26,522,577 spending plan Thursday evening after reviewing a presentation from Superintendent William A. Gregory.

The proposed 2014-15 budget represents a $2.2 million hike over this year’s $24,303,124 budget, a 9.13 percent spending increase. The budget hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. May 8.

Based on a tax levy increase of 2.56 percent, the property tax rate would increase from $19.65 per $1,000 of assessed value to $20.15.

Giving an example of the impact, the owner of a house assessed at $100,000 who receives the Basic STAR exemption would see his school tax bill increase from $1,376 to $1,411, a $35 increase. Those with Enhanced STAR would see their taxes remain at $721. Those without a STAR rebate, including business and commercial property, would see a $50 hike, with the tax bill increasing from $1,965 to $2,015.

Mr. Gregory said district taxpayers may be receiving a rebate check from the state because the district’s budget stays within the state’s tax cap limit. The rebate proposal was introduced by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to encourage school districts and municipalities to stay within the tax cap.

According to data reviewed by the school board, the Canton school taxes have increased by an average of 4.49 percent a year over the past 12 years. Last May, voters approved a budget with a 5.4 percent hike.

The largest expenses in the proposed budget are $9,942,091 for general and special education and $6,089,342 for health insurance for active and retired employees and their families.

The budget also includes $2.8 million for debt service and interfund transfers, $1.2 million for the teacher retirement system and $605,100 for the employee retirement system. The allocation for transportation is $1,276,440.

The board is scheduled to meet again at 4:30 p.m. Monday to vote on the administrative budget for St. Lawrence-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services and elect BOCES board members.

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