Elmont residents would see a small decrease in their property taxes under the school district’s proposed 2020-21 budget, even though spending would increase.
The $94.4 million proposal would include a tax levy of just under $56.7 million, 0.1 percent smaller than the current levy. As a result, Superintendent Al Harper said, the average homeowner could expect slightly smaller property tax bills if the budget passes on June 9.
“We’re just trying to do more with a little less,” Harper said, noting that the district has the 10th-smallest budget among Nassau County’s 56 public school districts, and its tax levy is 30 percent below the districts’ average.
Nonetheless, the spending plan is 1.6 percent larger than the current budget. It would fund the replacement of school buses and classroom furniture, maintain the district’s programs and class sizes, and finance new literacy and assessment programs for students.
To offset these costs, and reduce the amount the district needs to collect in taxes, Harper said, officials shaved over $208,000 from the administrative and general support budgets, and reduced the building operations and maintenance budgets by over $126,000. They are trying to complete more building renovations in-house, he explained, adding that the district’s electrician installed devices in every classroom this year to provide cellphone and iPad service.
“We put together a solid budget,” said Board of Education Trustee Anthony Maffea, who is running for re-election this year. Maffea said he was proud that the district always manages to stay below the state’s 2 percent tax levy cap.
Elmont library budget
Taxes would also remain steady under the Elmont Memorial Library’s proposed budget.
Expenditures would decline by more than $2,500 in the library’s $3.37 million spending plan, which includes slight increases in database expenses and contract services, but decreases in staff salaries and benefits, and heating and telephone expenses. Programming costs would increase, but were offset by savings in the library’s office and computer supplies account, which fall under general expenses.
The facility’s estimated revenues are also down, with no increase in state aid expected. The tax levy would be $2.4 million — the same as it is in the current budget — and the average homeowner would continue to pay $141.12 annually if the proposal were to pass.
The Sewanhaka budget
Franklin Square and Elmont residents will also have the opportunity to vote on the Sewanhaka Central High School District’s proposed $209 million budget.
The district would invest $1.8 million in security enhancements at all five schools, with the installation of security vestibules, an electronic lock system and computer technology security improvements. The cost of these enhancements would vary by school, and would be part of a $5.7 million, or 2.8 percent, increase in expenditures over the current budget.
To fund these increases, the district would collect just over $152 million in taxes, 2.7 percent more than it is collecting now.
The district planned to hold a budget hearing on May 26, after the Herald went to press.