Rye City School Budget Uses Fund Balance To Comply With Tax Cap

RYE, N.Y. – Homeowners with a home assessed at the average $28,500 would pay $172 more in school taxes under the 2014-2015 Rye City School District adopted budget, which residents will vote on Tuesday, May 20.

Jason Mehler (left), Blake Jines-Story (center) and incumbent Karen Belanger are vying for two seats on the Rye City School Board.
Jason Mehler (left), Blake Jines-Story (center) and incumbent Karen Belanger are vying for two seats on the Rye City School Board. Photo Credit: Rye City School District

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

In addition to the $79.36 million budget, voters will decide on two open seats with three candidates. Incumbent Karen Belanger and newcomers Blake Jines-Story and Jason Mehler will vie for the seats.

The 1.08 percent tax rate increase means homeowners will pay $560.65 per $1,000 of assessed value on their home, an increase of $5.99 per $1,000 of assessed value.

To make up for a $3,599,846 budget shortfall and comply with the state-mandated cap on the property tax levy, the district plans to use $2.7 million in its fund balance and $913,250 in a new utility tax. As a result, it plans to increase its tax levy 1.64 percent, which is right at the cap.

If the district exceeded the cap, the budget would have required 60 percent of the vote, rather than a simple majority, to pass.

The proposed utility tax will be up for discussion at a May 28 public hearing. If the board decides not to adopt the utility tax, more cuts would have to be made or more reserves used to balance the budget, according to the Rye City School District Newsletter. 

The newsletter also gives readers a look at the three board candidates

The budget adds four high school teachers and sections as a result of increasing enrollment. Based on projections, enrollment will increase by 62 students this coming year. Including those projections, enrollment has spiked by 144 students since 2012-2013, and 520 since 2004.

The high school will also get a custodian and security guard, and the writing mentor program will be supported for all ninth and 10th grade students.

More than 78 percent of all spending goes toward salaries and benefits. Another $516,000 will be spent on the added positions at the high school, not including the $62,000 to be spent for security services at the high school.

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