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Board mulls course for leftover cash

There's money left over -- about $610,000 of it -- from the $7.6 million building project that the Orchard Park School District is wrapping up.

Bids came in lower than expected, Assistant Superintendent Jeffrey Petrus said at Tuesday's School Board meeting.

"It was a very efficient and well-managed project by our engineers and architects," he said.

Now, it's up to the board to decide what to do with the leftover money. Most of it likely will be rolled over toward the cost of the next building project, which residents will be asked to vote on in May.

The district is looking to build four additions at the high school, in part to make room for the district offices, which would be moving out of the administration building on Baker Road. District officials say increasing academic requirements account for some of the other space needs at the high school. A dollar amount for the project has not yet been determined.

"I'm recommending we look at using at least the majority of the money toward the next capital project," Petrus told the board. "It would reduce the amount we would have to borrow by $600,000."

At the same time, though, he told the board that the district needs to replace three vehicles: a medium-size dump truck to spread salt, a smaller dump truck that would be used as a plow in winter and a cargo van. The three would cost about $95,000, he said. The board could decide to dip into the money left over from the capital project to buy the vehicles.

Petrus on Tuesday also presented the board a four-year budget projection. The numbers were only estimates, he emphasized, projecting a 4.44 percent increase in the budget for 2007-08. The total amount to be collected in taxes across the district is estimated to increase 4.36 percent; the tax rate in the Town of Orchard Park is estimated to go up 2.06 percent.

The average annual budget increase is projected to be 4.35 percent, with an average annual tax levy increase of 4.52 percent and a tax rate increase of 2.16 percent, according to Petrus' calculations.

e-mail: mpasciak@buffnews.com

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