School district lowers tax levy

The Katonah-Lewisboro school board has chosen to use $200,000 from its fund balance to keep tax rates within a fraction of a penny as they were advertised to voters when the school budget was approved in May, according to Michael Jumper, assistant superintendent for business.

“When the community votes in May what they vote on is an expenditure budget,” he said at the board meeting on Monday, Aug. 5. “We do provide estimates as to what the tax levy may be at that time, but we make it pretty clear that the board of education establishes the total amount of money that needs to be raised by taxes at this summer meeting. I am pleased to report the numbers that we projected back at budget time are pretty close to what we are recommending tonight.”

During the budget development the estimated tax levy was $102,981,072 and, thanks to the district’s infusion of funds, was lowered by $200,000 to $102,781,072.

The reason for the district’s decision stems from fluctuations in assessed values in three of the four district towns, Mr. Jumper said.

“As a result of those fluctuations the tax rates would be slightly higher than what we talked about at budget time, about 40 cents per thousand,” he said. “It’s not a lot of money, but on a million-dollar home it is at least $400, half-million dollar home $200.”

Despite what might seem like an insignificant sum, Mr. Jumper later said in a press release that the decision to draw from the district’s fund balance was necessary to counter any increase in the community’s tax burden.

“We are sensitive to the challenge that a tax rate increase would pose to our residents, and felt it was appropriate to allocate from our fund balance so that our taxpayers will not be affected,” he said. “It is always our goal to keep the tax rate close to what is presented in the budget.”

Down the road

The positive financial news came with the added bonus of Mr. Jumper’s confidence in the future of the district’s finances, citing recent successful negotiations with the Katonah-Lewisboro Support Staff Association resulting in a switch from a self-insured health care system to a New York State Health Insurance Program (NYSHIP).

“I believe I have us positioned well to withstand the next couple of years,” Mr. Jumper said. “I am a little concerned as I look out multiple years. I think we will be in a good place in the 2014-15 budget and I say that because we budgeted for being self-insured with health insurance. We are transitioning midyear to NYSHIP and we should realize a surplus in our 2013-14 budget.”

About author

By participating in the comments section of this site you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and User Agreement

© HAN Network. All rights reserved. Lewisboro Ledger, 16 Bailey Avenue, Ridgefield, CT 06877

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress