Silver Creek Board decides to offset levy and reserves

SILVER CREEK – The Silver Creek Board of Education opted to use its increased state aid to offset the levy and reserves.

At its last meeting, the board learned it received $213,516 more in state aid than it had projected. The decision to make after that was whether to put it toward the levy or the amount of reserves used in the budget.

The district had planned to use $553,978 from several different reserve accounts to offset the budget and pay for a bus. It had also expected to collect a tax levy of $5,716,824, a $203,975 increase of 3.7 percent.

Superintendent Daniel Ljiljanich pointed out, even though the district has a 10-year reserve plan, there are still two cliffs over that time when the district will have to cut programs or find revenue to bridge the gap.

At Wednesday’s meeting, the board decided to put $55,000 toward the tax levy and the rest toward reserves.

President Martha Howard said she thought decreasing the tax levy by 1 percent and offsetting reserves was a good compromise. Board member Irene Blakely agreed.

“I think it’s a happy medium for the taxpayers to get (the levy) down to a 2.7 percent increase,” she said.

This allowed the district to appropriate less reserves in the amount of $395,462, the difference of which will be put toward the cliffs in the reserve plan.

Ljiljanich said it is important for the district to plan the use of its reserves wisely, especially because the $482,771 total state aid increase the district received may be a one-time thing.

“As far as anyone can tell, the $203 million increase in state funding was just fiscal stabilization funds and Governor Cuomo hasn’t said it was anything more than a one-time thing. This means that is over $200,000 in the next budget that we cannot expect to see,” he said.

The board adopted the amended budget with a total proposed budget of $20,477,618. Ljiljanich said two-thirds of this is state aid funded, with the district receiving a total of $12,12,284,167. The tax levy was updated to $5,661,824, a $148,975 increase or 2.7 percent.

Business Administrator Cindy Mackowiak said this equates to a $0.47 increase in the full value tax rate of $17.76 per $1,000 assessed value. She explained for a home valued at $100,000 in a town with a 100 percent equalization rate this would equal a $47 increase. The towns of Hanover and Brant dropped slightly below a 100 percent equalization rate last year. Sheridan had a 70 percent equalization rate, which would equate to a $68 increase for a $100,000 home.

The district will put its budget to a vote on May 21 from 1 to 9 p.m. in the high school lobby.

A second proposition will be to expend the remaining $118,978 in the capital vehicle reserve on a bus. Ljiljanich said there is no local tax levy impact by approving this proposition.

The third proposition will be to create a new capital vehicle reserve for up to $850,000. The district plans to transfer $350,000 from another reserve account and more from its unappropriated fund balance if the measure is approved.

There are also two board of education seats up for election.

The board changed its next meeting to April 23 at 7 p.m. There will be a workshop on state common core learning standards at 6 p.m.