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District budget gap is $3.4M

PENN YAN—The Penn Yan Central School District board of education learned there is a $3.4 million gap in the 2011-12 district budget at their meeting Thursday, Feb. 3.
During the first review of expenditures current services budget, Assistant Superintendent for Business Doug Tomandl told the group this would translate to a 21.96 percent tax increase. After delivering this information, Tomandl added, “No way.”
Budgeted expenditures for the current year total $31,645,709 with revenue matching that amount. The total expenditures for 2011-2012 are $33,897,326. Revenue is projected at $30,457,986, resulting in a gap of $3,439,340.
Contractual expenses such as salaries, benefits and state retirement contributions are the major expenses. Employee benefits would increase from $5,607,520 to $6,279,940. There will be a hefty increase in debt service; from $4,100,000 to $4,856,763. The final amount of state aid and BOCES costs are not known as yet. No extra state aid is expected.
In order to eliminate the gap, the district would have to find extra revenue or increase taxes. The recently enacted property tax cap of two percent would contribute just $330,000 to reduction of the gap. Tomandl said, “We have a lot of work ahead of us. The only way to balance the budget is to cut expenses.”
Superintendent of Schools Ann Orman said, “We have been working on this since September because we knew the gap was coming. We didn’t know it would be that big. There was supposed to be mandate relief. It will be a tough, tough year. It makes me feel bad to leave you like this.” Orman retired as superintendent Friday, Feb. 4.
Audience member Renee Bloom asked if the public can get involved. Tomandl said there will be a public hearing May 5, but he urged people to come to every budget presentation. He said, “We are always looking for input. We will ask the unions and the public for ideas.”
The next budget presentation will be during the board of education meeting Wednesday, Feb. 16. The third will be March 9 and the final expenditure draft will be presented March 23. Adoption of the budget is expected during the board of education meeting March 30. Meetings are at 7 p.m. in the elementary school cafeteria.




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