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Dundee's tax levy is three percent

    DUNDEE—The 2012-13 Dundee school budget was discussed during Tuesday’s May 1 meeting.
    The spending plan for 2011-12 equals $13,881,863.  Next year’s proposed budget is $14,413,145.  Compared with this year, there would be a budget-to-budget increase of 4.2 percent ($581,282) for 2012-13 if finances get approved by residents.  This equals a three percent tax levy increase.
    Business Manager Melissa Lawson reviewed how district appropriations are divided into four categories: mandated costs (school board, central administration, benefits, and debt service); mandated core programs (academics and faculty); non-mandatory programs (extracurricular programs); and health, safety, and nutrition (food service, maintenance, transportation, and medicine).  In comparison with 2011-12, mandated costs increased by 12.7 percent ($612,969); mandated costs elevated by .1 percent ($5,327); non-mandatory costs saw a rise of 2.9 percent ($7,142); and health, safety, and nutrition dropped by two percent ($44,156).
    One matter which Lawson discussed, while presenting on the budget, was the three percent tax levy increase.  She explained the district has generally elevated the levy by that amount in years past to cover increased expenses.  “That (three percent levy raise) is typically where we have been in the past,” Lawson said.  She added under the new tax cap which N.Y. state enacted this year, the highest the district could have increased the levy was 9.48 percent.
    With the new tax cap in effect, Lawson pointed out there is more urgency to get the proposed budget approved by taxpayers.  Rejecting a budget could jeopardize the opportunity for the district to increase taxes at all.  Under the new law, the district would have two options if the spending plan gets voted down on May 15.  One choice is to submit the same budget or revise it for a revote on June 19.  The alternative is adopting a contingent budget which cannot have a tax levy increase.  If a resubmitted spending gets rejected by residents, the school district would have to settle for a contingent budget.
    Lawson also made note of how additional state aid will help DCS cover increased expenditures.  The district will be receiving an additional 4.4 percent ($364,061) of financial assistance.


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