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District Aims To Keep Tax Levy Below 3 Percent

Draft budget projects 1.62 percent budget increase, 2.45 percent tax levy.

The held their first budget workshop last week with the task of doing what it has been able to do for the past three years; keep the tax levy under three percent.

The first draft, presented by superintendent Susan Agruso, showed a budget of $80.4 million, which is a budget to budget increase of 1.62 percent and a 2.45 percent tax levy.

“This district traditionally brings in a budget under three percent,” said Agruso. “And in that spirit we are staying within those numbers.”

According to Agruso, the district is trying to keep the number under the tax levy maximum, which is determined by the state. Agruso said she received information that day that would allow the district to increase the tax levy to 2.9 percent.

“We are trying to keep the number under that tax levy maximum. The board is not locked into that number and they could set the tax levy higher or lower,” said Agruso.

Added costs to the budget included $68,000 for staff and administration development to comply with the Annual Performance Professional Review and another $20,000 for district wide testing for new student assessments.

Consolidated mailing, however, will save the district $25,000, an opportunity found by Phil Kenter, assistant superintendent for business.

If the board sets a levy over what the state allows, it would require a super majority approval, which is an approval of at least 60 percent. If the budget were not to pass, the district could put it up for a second vote. If that fails, the budget and tax levy remains the same. Agruso said that more often than not the budget passes a little above a 50 percent voter approval.

“A zero increase results in the same tax levy being paid now. The problem is, with all the mandated increases we are incurring, how do you close the budget keeping the tax levy the same with all the mandates,” said Kenter. “(If that happens) we will have to cut at least $1.3 to $1.5 million additionally off the budget.”

Last year's tax levy increase was 2.92 percent.

“The last three years you see modest increases in the budget…the best type of budgeting is one that shows slow and steady increases. That is exactly what has been happening in Kings Park," said  Kenter.

 

Year
Tax Levy Percent

2009-2010

2.64
2010-2011 1.87
2011-2012 2.92
Albert Noesei February 23, 2012 at 10:53 PM
I don't think there is any way that the community would vote to override the cap for a budget with a 60 percent supermajority. I think the community wants responsible spending and lower taxes as do many people in these tough economic times. I also think they have kept a watchful eye on the bloated budgets and then money being kicked into reserves. (Remember the 5 million a few years back?) I also found it interesting in another article on North Shore Long Island News that they are floating the idea of adding positions. I don't think that is a reality, but rather a ploy to get people to think the budget is better than what it is. Just my opinion.
Will Rose February 24, 2012 at 10:11 AM
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Will Rose February 24, 2012 at 05:19 PM
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Will Rose February 26, 2012 at 03:35 AM
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Stephanie Turner February 26, 2012 at 02:08 PM
$90,000.00 to comply with Cuomo and the state's ridiculous and ineffective APPR? Seems incredibly wasteful.
Albert Noesei February 26, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Hey, if you want to talk about waste, look at the line by line budget and check the amount they poured into reserves each year. So, basically, they cut teachers every year for the last four years and they still poured money into reserves. What this says is that they continuously and knowingly overpadded each budget while excessing teachers and blaming it on enrollment. They then raised class sizes. These are facts and not opinions. It is just a shame that the taxpayer has to pay for it. My hope is that the community will stand up and VOTE NO!

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