ELCS cuts spending plan, but still foresees tax levy increase

ELIZABETHTOWN -At the start of the night, the Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School District budget had a proposed tax levy increase of five-percent.

By the end of the April 14 meeting, the board and administration had cut that down to 3.99-percent.

Both cases are better than the original 8.8-percent increase the board was presented with during the initial stages of the budget process.

"It has been a long process from getting from the original deficit to a five-percent increase to where we are now," school board president Robert Wagner said. "The five-percent was where we requested the administration to be at this meeting, but I have no objections to going lower. This was a hard process and it was no fun."

The projected tax levy calls for $3,253,746 to be raised through tax collection, an increase of $124,843, or 3.99-percent.

Under 2010 figures, the increase would lead to a 49-cent increase in tax rate per $1,000 of assessed property value. That would mean a tax increase of $49 for property assessed at $100,000.

While the spending plan proposed is down from the $7,504,953 of 2010-11, revenues fell $284,990 from $7,504,953 in 2010-11 to $7.219,963 projected for 2011-12.

Board member Tammy Apthorp started the meeting by saying that while she was in favor of looking at a five-percent increase at the last meeting, she wanted to see if there was any chance the levy could be lowered more.

"I just think that it is too much," Apthorp said. "I feel there are things that we should still trim."

"If tweaking can get us down another percent, then I can't think of any school board that would not do that," board member Karin DeMuro said. "I do not feel comfortable about a five-percent increase after talking to people."

"I want it to be lower and I am not comfortable with the percentage, either," board member Karen Hooper said.

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