December 20, 2012 | 1298 views
BEA budget committee recommends piercing tax cap
The Baldwin Education Assembly’s Budget Advisory Committee last week recommended that the school board seek to pierce New York State’s tax levy cap in
preparing its budget for 2013-14.
“In order to maintain the educational program without significant cuts, which the Baldwin community has consistently indicated it desires, the BEA Budget Advisory Committee believes this will require piercing the tax levy cap,” a concluding statement from the group read. The BAC’s presentation explaining its reasoning was given at a Board of Education meeting held Dec. 12 at Baldwin’s Lenox School.
Joel Press and Joel Peskoff, along with Carl Williams and Garry Nelson presented the group’s ideas, but explained they were based on extensive conversations involving the entire BAC.
New York State’s property tax cap, enacted in June of 2011, limits the degree to which school districts can raise property taxes in their areas. The tax cap in 2011-12 was set at 2.39 percent. The estimated cap for 2012-13 is anticipated to be around 3.14. The BAC’s
recommendation to “pierce” the cap means going over 3.14 percent (or whatever the actual number turns out to be,) and would require the district to convince a 60 percent “super majority” of residents who vote to approve the budget proposal.
3.14: pi in the sky?
According to the BAC’s considerations, a 3.14 percent increase in the tax levy would leave the Baldwin School District severely strapped. The approved 2012-13 budget was $119.4 million. The district estimates that a rollover of this same plan will cost $124 million in 2013-14. The reason for the inflation, they explained, is a combination of the rising costs of teacher and employee retirements and health insurance (expenses the district cannot control), along with state aid allotments that have declined every year since 2009. The BAC and the district both estimate available funds for 2013-14 will fall about $6 million short of rollover.