Zero percent levy increase for sixth year in Dunkirk

Between the retirement incentive, state aid and the use of fund balance, Dunkirk Business Administrator William Thiel announced to the board of education Thursday it could go through another year with no tax levy increase.

During the past few months of meetings Thiel has kept the board informed of where the budget stood with the most recent figures showing a 1.5 percent increase in the total budget. At the most recent meeting, he explained the retirement incentive was able to decrease the payroll expenditure $765,663. Although the incentive also increased the district’s retirement expense by $141,000, Thiel said it was “still positive” for the district.

Superintendent Gary Cerne explained between the teachers and administrators retiring from this month’s and last month’s meeting combine for a total of 419 years of service. He thanked them for their time with the district.

Thiel went on to explain the district will utilize $23.8 million in state aid as well as $2.6 million in fund balance or savings to balance the budget. Cerne said if the district receives more state aid funding than anticipated, it intends to offset the amount of fund balance used in the budget.

The local share in the budget was over $13 million which included the same levy as in years past at $9,614,516.

A tax rate was not announced, however certain numbers like the assessment and equalization rate are required to determine the actual tax rate.

Thiel explained according to the tax levy limit formula, Dunkirk could legally raise the levy by 10 percent including PILOT agreements, exclusions and carryover. However, Board President Kenneth Kozlowski assured that the board has no intention of doing so.

Thiel also said as part of the budget the district will crease a repair reserve.

“At the next meeting the board will be asked to authorize the creation of a repair reserve that is a reserve that enables us to upon completion of a public hearing to spend the funds to repair the incredible amounts of equipment that have been added to these rooms. None of the equipment is cheap and they all have warranties that will eventually expire and will require that they are replaced and maintained. The amount of reserve that we propose is $350,000, it will then be included in the budget as a line for next year of $50,000, it does not change the total. It will be specifically discussed at the budget hearing and will be part of the budget vote, not a separate referendum, in May,” he explained.

After the presentation Kozlowski asked if the board was comfortable where the budget stands. The board members said they were and asked that the official presentation of the budget be made at the next board meeting on April 23. The public hearing of the budget was set for May 9 at 7 p.m. in the LGI.

Thiel’s budget presentation is available on the school’s website under the business office in the departments tab and in the “District Budget Documents 2013-2014” link.

The budget vote was set for May 21 from noon to 9 p.m. in the four wards’ polling places including school seven, the administrative building, school four and Murray Hose Co. #4. Two three-year term board positions, held by Kozlowski and Linda Guy, will be on the ballot along with a one-year position for the remainder of Roosevelt Haynes term. The lever voting machines will be used for the vote.

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