By Kathryn G. Menu
After spending the last two months reviewing different scenarios for next year’s budget — including one option that would have raised spending by seven percent and allowed the district to upgrade technology in the district and tackle long term maintenance projects — last week the Bridgehampton School Board adopted a $10,577,411 budget. This amount will cover the cost of contractual increases in spending, but not allow for much in the way of new projects in the 2011-2012 budget year.
The $10.6 million budget will increase spending by 5.63 percent and will result in a tax rate of $1.52 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, meaning a homeowner in the district will a house valued at $400,000 would pay about $608 in school taxes.
According to Bridgehampton School Superintendent Dr. Lois Favre, the proposed budget will allow the district to cover an additional $564,824 in contractual increases over the current budget.
At the same time, with a possible two-percent state imposed property tax cap looming over school districts and municipalities for their 2012-2013 budgets, the district is expecting a reduction in state aid from $540,000 to $486,000.
Dr. Favre said in the proposed budget, transportation to Eastern Suffolk BOCES will be reduced by two bus trips, saving the district about $100,000. Plans to upgrade technology in the district, as laid out in a budget scenario that would have resulted in a seven percent increase in spending, will also be handled by BOCES, which will assist the district in repairs and upgrades, she said, at a reduced cost to taxpayers.
Also discussed throughout budget talks were plans to include long term maintenance projects, such as repair of the gym skylight, installation of emergency lighting in the main building, a new roof, light fixtures and furnace for the special education building, a new roof and electrical service for the district offices, a new roof and light fixtures for the middle school and new light fixtures for the pre-kindergarten building. In order to get started on some of those projects, Dr. Favre and the budget advisory committee had initially recommended $110,000 increase in maintenance, but that has been shelved for this budget year.
According to Dr. Favre, a final budget spreadsheet will be available to the public on May 3, as laid out in the school board’s budget calendar. A public hearing on the budget will be held on May 11, with the district’s budget vote and school board elections taking place on May 16.