Dunkirk to vote on more than school budget

The school budget vote is fast approaching on May 21. However, Dunkirk City School District voters will have more than just the budget to consider.

Board of Education President Kenneth Kozlowski said the district will ask voters to take an exit poll to see if they favor going to one polling place in the future.

“We were talking about maybe having one polling place, changing it from the spots we have now to one centralized location … It could save us some money … it might work better. We will see where people are,” he said.

Superintendent Gary Cerne explained the district is already looking to save money for next year by asking voters if they would prefer a singular polling place.

“There will be a flier on the tables when people come out (of voting) and there will just be one question: In order to save money would you be in favor of moving all the polling places to the high school?” And we are just looking for people to say yes or no. And again the only reason we are doing this is to save some money. We already know it is going to be another tough budget year next year so we are looking for way now we could save a few dollars,” he said.

Kozlowski said a potential polling place in the future would be the high school auxiliary gym.

“That’s a good idea,” Board Member David Damico added.

Polling places for the May 21 vote will be at School Seven in the first ward, the administrative building in the second ward, School Four in the third ward and Murray Hose Co. for the fourth ward. Polls will be open from noon to 9 p.m.

There will also be three board of education seats up for election; two three-year terms currently held by Kozlowski and Linda Guy and the one-year remainder of Roosevelt Haynes term.

Business Administrator William Thiel also presented the public hearing of the budget. Thiel explained the total proposed 2013-2014 budget is $40,923,396. He said there were a $719,244 increase in expenditures from 2012-2013 which were offset by increases in state and federal aid. This allowed the district keep the tax levy at $9,614,516.

He said this equates to a full-value tax rate of $18.88 per $1,000 assessed valuation, however actual tax amounts will not be available until final assessments and equalization rates are completed later in the summer.

Thiel showed a chart of Chautauqua County schools where Dunkirk is one of three to keep the tax levy at no increase, one was able to decrease the levy and maximum increase was 5.67 percent.

Cerne said the retirement incentive helped the district present a flat tax levy to the voters for the sixth year.

“This again was a tough budget season but again I think the product we are putting out there to the voters is an outstanding budget. Who else around has a flat levy, who else around isn’t laying anyone off, who else around is actually going to be hiring some people? … I would like to thank everyone, it was a great team effort. I just hope the public is going to come out on May 21 and vote,” he said.

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