Spending cuts, increase in state aid allows City Schools to keep proposed tax levy under cap amount
District officials have trimmed more than $1.1 million in proposed spending from February's draft budget for the Batavia City School District. Combined with an additional $500,000 in state aid, it means the proposed 2019-2020 tax levy will stay below that state-mandated tax cap amount and allow local homeowners to get their annual rebate checks.
That's a pretty good deal for Batavia homeowners, who have received an average of $500,000 more in rebates each of the past five years than whatever increase in taxes the school district has initiated for the year.
Voters will be asked to approve the $50.518 million spending plan, which anticipates a tax levy of $19.5 million.
Tax rates won't be set until assessments are done but Business Administrator Scott Rozanski said the early estimate is that local property owners will see a tax-rate increase of 27 cents on each $1,000 of assessed value.
In the search to cut proposed spending, Rozanski said the district will delay $300,000 in technology spending, reduce spending on new library books to the state-aid amount of $24,000, and delay additional equipment purchases for another $19,000 in savings. Some personnel's salaries can be covered by grants.
Last year, the tax levy increased by $444,000 and local residents received rebates on school property taxes of $1.1 million. The three previous years, there was no increase in the levy and taxpayers received cumulative rebates of $424,000, $ $825,506, and $535,194.
The 2014-15 school year was the one year in which the tax levy increased more than rebates, with about a $150,000 difference.
Rebates for local residents are set based on an income formula so people with lower incomes receive bigger rebates proportionally.
Since the tax cap became law, the district has kept the tax levy below the allowable tax cap amount. For the 2019-2020 budget, it will be $331,886 below the potential levy amount.
Over the previous seven years, the district budgets, cumulatively, have been $3.8 million under what the tax levies could have been in those years.