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Cheektowaga Central voters approve budget

The Cheektowaga Central School District received the green light on its budget for next year, while a new face will join the Board of Education.

By a vote of 333-111, district residents on Tuesday approved the adopted $40.1 million spending plan for 2015-16, which is about $830,000 lower than this year’s.

In addition to the budget, voters selected two candidates to serve five-year terms on the Board of Education, including incumbent Renee Wilson with 301 votes and Matthew Weigand with 236 votes. Other candidates included Myrlene Lee, who earned 155 votes, and Tamera Dixon, who received 52.

Voter turnout was low compared to last year. As of 6:55 p.m., 317 residents cast their ballots, which was down about 80 voters from the same time last year, said Chief Election Inspector Wayne Sorrentino.

Property taxes make up about $23 million of the district’s budget, up from this year’s $22.81 million. This will increase the tax levy by 0.66 percent, which is within the district’s allowed cap.

The new tax rate will increase 47 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, or 2.78 percent. This means that taxpayers will pay about $17.31 per $1,000. The owner of a home valued at $100,000 will see a tax bill of about $1,731, an increase of about $47.

While the overall budget is lower, several forces drove the tax rate increase. Teacher retirement contributions are expected to increase 17.2 percent to about $2 million, while health insurance is expected to increase about 6 percent to drive combined insurance and workers compensation costs to $4.7 million.

Petrina Bursie, who has one child in the district, was satisfied that overall spending was down, but she would not use the word “happy” to describe how she feels about the spending plan.

“I’m OK with it,” she said.

Also on the ballot was a resolution asking voters if they approve the selection of a qualified high school student to serve as an ex-officio, non-voting member of the Board of Education during the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 school years. Voters approved the measure, 377-47.