Fulton school budget vote is Tuesday

by Nicole Reitz

Registered voters in the Fulton City School District will have the opportunity to vote on the 2013-14 school district budget May 21 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Residents who live inside Fulton on the west side of the Oswego River can vote at Lanigan Elementary School. West side voters who live outside Fulton may vote at Granby Elementary School.

East side residents who live within Fulton’s boundaries will vote at Fairgrieve Elementary School while residents who live outside Fulton on the east side will vote at Volney Elementary School.

Fulton residents will cast their vote on the $65.26 million budget. There is a percentage spending increase of 4.6 percent and an estimated tax levy increase of 1.5 percent for a total proposed levy of $20,042,698.

The district is requesting a tax levy that is below the permissible tax levy limit and will require a simple majority.

The tax rate is based on the overall assessed value of the property in the city or town, and the equalization rate for that municipality.

Equalization rates are set by the New York State Office of Real Property Services. After the Basic STAR Exemption is applied,  a homeowner who resides in a house assessed at $80,000 can expect to pay $19.50 more next year in annual school taxes.

The budget is increasing by $2.86 million. The increase includes new instructional materials and technology for students to support the common core standards.

The budget also covers a spike in pension costs and increases in BOCES administration costs. The full cost of the second energy performance project and the BOCES capital project is reflected in this budget.

Capital project costs are offset by state building aid and BOCES aid, which lessens the impact on taxpayers.

The budget being presented to the community meets the district’s three goals of maintaining student supports and services, using less of the fund balance and for the budget to be sustainable and meet the multi-year budget planning process.

If voters defeat their school district budget on Tuesday, the district can either resubmit the same proposal or a revised one for a re-vote June 18 or adopt a contingent budget.

If residents vote down a resubmitted budget, the district then must adopt a contingent budget.

If it is necessary for the district to go to a contingent budget, the budget would be $64,962,902, a difference of $296,198. Adopting a contingent budget prohibits a district from spending any money in certain areas, such as community use of school facilities, unless all costs are reimbursed to the district.

Public hearing on TV

The public hearing on the proposed 2013-2014 budget, which was held May 8, will be aired on Time Warner Cable public access channel 96 in Fulton.

It will be on television May 18 at 1 a.m., May 19 at 7 a.m. and 11 p.m., May 20 at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., and May 21 at 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

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