Board Slashes $2.5 Million From Proposed Budget, Lowers Tax Increase to $127
Won't cut hockey, gymnastics programs;
The school portion of the average homeowner’s taxes might only increase $127 after the Board of Education decided Monday to cut more than $2.5 million out of the district’s proposed 2012-2013 budget.
The $127 represents less than a 2 percent increase for the average homeowner. The previous amount of the increase was about $182.
“You don’t want to cut anything and we had to look at what the impact was of making the cuts, but also the realization that we had to cut the budget,” said board President Donald Pavlak Jr.
The board had to get the annual increase below a 2-percent state-mandated cap. Trustees voted earlier this year to move the annual school board election to November. In doing so, they also agreed to take away the public’s right to vote on the tax levy and must keep the budget below the annual 2-percent incrase cap.
Board trustee Robert Ceberio said he would like to get the increase down to approximately $116.
The board chose not to cut the high school hockey and gymnastics programs. The hockey program is one of the most expensive extra-curricular activities in the district.
The board has opted not to add an additional $1.7 million in banked cap funds to the budget. The town council cut $1.7 million from last year’s $126.6 million tax levy in May of last year after taxpayers voted it down in April.
The board will also not incorporate a $1.8 million increase in health care costs, which could have raised the budget even more.
Dozens of athletes and parents from both sports attended the meeting. They left after the board announced the programs would not be eliminated.
Peter Beckwermert, a member of the Wayne Hills Ice Hockey Association, said that parents pay approximately $750 out of pocket so their children can play. The fee helps to pay for renting rink time at the Ice Vault. Coaches and volunteers raise approximately $300 per player to help pay for other expenses.
“We would have hated to see the program be cut,” said Peter Beckwermert, a member of the Wayne Hills Ice Hockey Association. “It has become a community”
The board will approve the district’s final budget at a special meeting March 29 at 7:30 p.m. at the municipal complex.