By Tessa Raebeck
After the budget fell short of approval by just 36 votes last week, the Bridgehampton Board of Education on Wednesday, May 28, agreed to present the same $12.3 million budget to voters for a second vote, on June 17.
“Certainly, while the support of the budget was positive, it wasn’t quite positive enough to get us to be able to pierce the levy limits,” Superintendent Dr. Lois Favre said Wednesday. “In planning the budget, the board considered all possible scenarios. With community support, it decided the only way to move forward successfully was to pierce the cap.”
The 2014-15 budget, a 9.93-percent or $1.1 million increase over last year’s due largely to contractual obligations, required a supermajority of 60 percent because it pierced the state-mandated tax levy cap. With just 247 residents casting ballots, it came in short at just above 54 percent with 134 yes votes and 113 no votes.
Members of the school board were optimistic Wednesday that they could get more parents and other supportive community members out to vote June 17.
“I think it’s a learning experience,” said Ronnie White, president of the school board. “Maybe we should go back to the drawing board and try to get some of the folks, the naysayers, and really educate them on the actual numbers.”
For a homeowner of a $500,000 house, the annual tax bill would be increased by approximately $56 a year if the budget is passed on the second go around.
“We probably need to work harder to get our word out to the public,” Dr. Favre said.