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Hermon-DeKalb budget calls for 4.11 percent tax hike


DEKALB JUNCTION - Property owners in the Hermon-DeKalb Central School District will see a projected 4.11 percent increase in their school taxes next year under a proposed 2014-15 budget.

The $9,275,471 spending plan calls for hiking the tax levy from $2,316,971 to $2,412,231. The tax levy is the amount of revenue collected from property owners within the district. The 4.11 percent hike is within the state’s tax cap limit.

School Superintendent Ann M. Adams described the budget plan as a “solid, no frills educational program.”

“As a board, we have tried to maintain a reasonable spending plan while trying to maintain quality programs for children,” Ms. Adams said.

The budget also represents a 2.53 percent hike in spending- $95,260 - over this year’s $9,046,426 budget.

If voters approve the plan, the tax rate is expected to increase from $16.76 per $1,000 of assessed property valuation to $17.45 this year.

Giving an example of the impact, Ms. Adams said taxes for a home assessed at $60,000 that receives the Basic STAR exemption would increase by $43.35, going from $442.64 to $485.99 next year.

The budget was unanimously adopted by the board April 7. A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for 7 p.m. May 12 in the district’s library. Voters head to the polls from 1 to 9 p.m. May 20 to vote on the budget and fill two open school board seats. Incumbents Ronald Smith and Richard Hamilton are both running unopposed for re-election to five-year terms.

A separate proposition to purchase one full-sized bus, at a cost not to exceed $122,000 will also be on the ballot.

Additional state aid that was added to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s proposed budget allowed the district to add back in library aid and purchase some new uniforms for sports teams, Ms. Adams said.

The district is slated to receive $6,133,150 in state aid, which is $61,007 more than this year, a 1 percent hike. The amount is still lower than the district received in the 2008-09 school year.

“The fact that state aid for education does not meet the local needs is the cause for many of the rising costs of education falling increasingly on the local school districts,” Ms. Adams said.

Funding for universal pre-kindergarten is available to continue that program. Through federal aid, the district will continue to receive some Title I funding and money for special education.

The district continues to contract for St. Lawrence-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services for several programs. The district gets reimbursed 80 percent for most of those costs through state aid.

Besides the May budget hearing, the district has also scheduled a community forum for 7 p.m. April 30 at the school. Discussion items include a summary of the community committee’s discussions, budget highlights, Booster Club possibilities, Northern New York Foundation functions and future priorities for the district.

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