COLTON - Colton-Pierrepont Central School officials have approved a $10,280,000 spending plan for the 2014-2015 school year, and voters in the district will have a chance to let their voices be heard later this month.
The polls will be open from noon to 8 p.m. May 20.
The projected tax levy increase is $60,000, or 0.85 percent, which falls below the calculated tax cap. The increase would bring the total tax levy to $7,120,000.
In a budget report that will be sent out to residents, Superintendent Joseph A. Kardash explained that the process of crunching numbers to make everything fall in place has been a long and arduous one.
State aid has not been growing over the years. Actually, we received slightly more state aid in 2006-07 than we do now. In that same time, the cost of health insurance has risen 46 percent, Mr. Kardash said. The cost of retirement benefits have more than doubled. Everyone knows what has happened to the cost of fuel and supplies over those past eight years.
Six days prior to the annual budget vote, the school will hold A public hearing on the proposed budget is planned for 6 p.m. May 14.
Incumbent board members Jeffery Angleberger and Kayc Stone are being challenged by Cindy McLean for the two open seats on the ballot.
The CPCS budget calls for the use of $650,000 in appropriated fund balance and $2,490,000 total in state aid. The state aid amount is up from $2,350,000 in the 2013-2014 school year.
These growing expenses and limited revenues certainly are cause for concern. This problem is compounded by a tax cap that restricts our increase to 0.85 percent this year, Mr. Kardash said. The situation has forced us to increase our appropriated fund balance to cover the difference in hopes that aid will be restored in future years.
The districts budget for the 2013-14 school year is $9,840,000, and the proposed increase would represent a 4.47 percent spike in spending.
In August, the town of Colton and Brookfield Power reached a settlement regarding the assessed values of six Erie Boulevard Hydropower owned properties in the hamlet. As a result, there will be a $30 million drop in assessment on Brookfields hydroelectric facilities in the town of Colton and the first reassessment in the town in more than four decades. This will mean higher taxes for most residential property owners in the municipality.
Mr. Kardash is optimistic that the settlement will not effect the community support for the district.
We know the Brookfield settlement had a significant impact on our taxpayers. We are confident that the public understands the tax rate increases were not a result of any action by the school district and that we are doing our best to mitigate the situation with a minimal tax levy increase of 0.85 percent, he said. With that in mind, we hope the settlement does not erode the support Colton-Pierrepont Central School District has had from our community.