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Budget Talks: Amherst School District

No programs or teachers will be cut in the 2016-2017 Amherst School budget, despite a negative tax cap.

According to Business Administrator Melanie Conley, the district was able to maintain programs and staffing due to an increase in state aid and the removal of the Gap Elimination Adjustment.

“We really lucked out not having to cut any programs with the negative tax cap,” said School Board President Ann Marie Carosella.

Taxes in the adopted budget are also set to drop, despite a negative 0.48 percent tax cap, Conley said.

“If all things stay the same with assessments, all home and property owners in the town should see a tax decrease in their bill from this year to next year,” she said.

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Proposed budget

Proposed total budget: $55.65 million, up 3.77 percent

Proposed tax levy: $33.99 million, down negative 0.48 percent

Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: negative 0.48 percent

Planning to go over tax cap? No

What could be cut: No programs will be cut.

What could be added: No additions will be made in the budget.

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What is a tax levy?

The tax levy is the total amount in taxes collected from property owners.

What is the tax cap?

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo instituted the tax cap three years ago to help control local taxes. It’s billed as a 2 percent tax cap but is actually based on the rate of inflation. Each district’s cap is different because of a complicated formula and can be higher or lower than 2 percent. Districts need 60 percent of votes – called a super majority – to approve a budget that goes over the tax cap. They only need one vote over 50 percent for a budget below the tax cap to pass.

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Voters go to the polls Tuesday, May 17 to approve or vote down the proposed budget and vote on candidates for school board and any propositions.

-Michael Canfield, News Staff