SALAMANCA – Under the state’s complicated tax cap formula, the Salamanca City Central School District can lawfully ask voters for an increase of up to 3.26 percent in the tax levy, but Superintendent, Robert Breidenstein said that is unlikely to happen.
Such an increase would give the district an allowable tax-levy increase of $111,643 and a total levy of $3,539,540, according to district business officer, Karen Magera.
The superintendent said, however, that the levy actually could see a double digit decrease because of several large windfall revenues in the district.
The 2013 agreement between New York State and the Seneca Nation of Indians, dealing with casino revenues, gave the district $5.7 million in December. The month before, the district was awarded $1.6 million in Federal Impact Aid to assist in the lost school taxes due to tax exemptions. The district is about 42 percent tax exempt, for those who live within the city, and on the Allegany Territory of the Seneca Nation.
Those numbers will be added to the aid package that will come from New York State, once state lawmakers decide to what level they will fund school districts. The exact number in tax levy increase or decrease will not be known until that date, Magera said.
“We should have that number rather shored up in the next three to four weeks,” Breidenstein said. “The double-digit decrease is a conservative estimate for school taxes.”
Breidenstein said the formula for determining the allowable amount of increase is very complex.
Mandated benefits in Salamanca are projected to go from $5.68 million to $6.76 million, a 19-percent increase. Programs are expected to cost $3.2 million in the coming year, as opposed to the $2.9 million in the current school year.
The allowable tax levy increase must be reported to state education officials in March. Budgets will be presented, in full, and voted upon in May, with the vote taking place May 20.