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Tuckahoe Approves School Budget; Voter Turnout Low

TUCKAHOE, N.Y. – A small number of Tuckahoe voters gave their thumbs-up Tuesday to the 2012-2013 school budget, approving the $29,903,621 spending plan by a 304-261 vote.

The budget represents a 2.9 percent increase over the current year and a 2.26 percent tax levy increase.

School board trustee Anthony Buonocore expressed happiness with the outcome, but disappointment with the voter turnout. "It's the lowest turnout I can remember in my 14 years here," he said. "Usually we get 13 or 14 percent, but this can't be more than 5 or 6 percent."

The low turnout was foreshadowed by a poll worker Tuesday afternoon. "It's been kind of quiet," said head poll inspector Tom Andruss at the Tuckahoe Community Center at about 6 p.m. "It picked up a bit around 4:30 or so, but I'd say it's been slower than usual."

The budget was the first put together since the state enacted its 2 percent tax levy cap in a bid to slow rising property taxes. The tax levy differs from the tax rate; the levy is how much money the district can raise in local taxes. The cap law starts at 2 percent, but makes allowances for some expenses, such as certain capital expenditures, increases in the state-mandated employer contribution rates for teacher and employee pension systems that exceed 2 percentage points, and court orders or judgments resulting from tort actions of any amount that exceeds 5 percent of a district's current levy. Because of this, Tuckahoe's budget falls below the cap even though its tax levy is 2.26 percent higher than last year's number.

Had the budget come in above the cap, it would have required a 60 percent voter approval.

Also Tuesday, incumbent school board member Michael Collins was unopposed for the lone available seat. Collins was appointed in October to serve the unexpired term of Bronxville resident James Oliverio, who resigned in September after serving more than eight years on the board. Collins drew 339 votes.


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