ACS proposed tax levy increase less than 1% for Tuesday's vote
By Joe Moskowitz
Voters in the Andes Central School District have several choices to make when they go to the polls next Tuesday, May 20. None of the choices are likely to meet with any serious opposition but the operating budget may signal big problems down the road for the little school.
The proposed budget for the 2014-15 school year calls for spending just under $3.9 million, an increase of 2.69 percent over the current year. If approved, the tax levy will go up by less than one percent.
That’s because, under the complicated eight step, so called two-percent cap on property tax increases, the proposed increase of 0.71 percent is the maximum the district can raise taxes without a 60 percent majority approval of the voters. And if that were to occur, district residents would not get property tax rebates from the State of New York.
Andes, like Margaretville, is another so called real estate “wealthy district’, and as such only gets one fourth of its operating money from state aid. The 0.71 percent levy increase means the district can only raise an additional $19,700 in new revenue. At the same time, health, pension, and other mandated expenses go up six to eight percent a year. Andes Superintendant Dr. Robert Chakar said Andes has to dig deeper into reserves, keep nibbling around the edges, squeezing dollars, and “hopefully the governor stops putting handcuffs on small districts.”
Meantime, there is business as usual. Gordon Krick is running unopposed to fill the remaining three years of a term on the board of education. He was elected to serve the first two years. And, Dale Tait is seeking reelection to the board. He is running as a write-in candidate because he didn’t file the petitions early enough to be listed in the ballot.
Voters will also be asked to approve the purchase of a new 22-passenger bus. Dr. Chakar said the district replaces its buses every five years. Trading every five years earns the school much high trade-ins, especially before road salt has a chance to eat away at the frame and resale value.