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Budget Talks: Hamburg School District

Hamburg’s taxes would go down almost 5 percent under the proposed budget, which is believed to be the first tax levy decrease in Hamburg in more than 30 years.

The decrease allows the district to stay within the tax cap, which is a negative 4.46 percent. There is no increase in spending. The restoration of state aid known as the gap elimination adjustment helped balance the budget, which also adds a high school science teacher, academic intervention services math teacher, special-education teacher and a part-time family and consumer science teacher.

The district also is asking voters to approve a $9.87 million capital project addressing basic health, safety, accessibility, code compliance and general renovations. Among the larger renovations are updating the library media centers at the high school and middle school and consumer sciences classrooms at the middle school. The Charlotte Avenue roof also would be replaced.

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Proposed budget

Proposed total budget: $66.08 million, no change

Proposed tax levy: $35.32 million, down 4.46 percent

Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: Negative 4.46 percent

Planning to go over tax cap? No.

What could be added: More than three teaching positions.

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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.

- Barbara O’Brien, News Staff Reporter