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Budget Talks: Sweet Home School District

No cuts to current school programming will be made under the adopted budget proposed for 2016-2017.

An increase in state aid helped the district maintain services, said Director of Finance and Plant Services Gerald Stuije.

“It also continues to reduce the reliance on reserve funds by $265,000,” he said, referring the budget.

Despite the $75.88 million budget staying at the tax cap of 2.48 percent, Board Member Dirk D. Rabenold was the lone vote against the budget. Rabenold argued that the board didn’t need to go to the tax cap with the budget.

“I do think we still have the ability to have an impact on the rate of growth in the expenses,” he said. “At the end of the day, we need to focus a little harder on the expenses.”

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Proposed budget

Proposed total budget: $75.88 million, up 5.5 percent

Proposed tax levy: $44.03 million, up 2.48 percent

Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 2.48 percent

Planning to go over tax cap? No

What could be cut: No cuts will be made in the budget.

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