By Sarah Hall
Voters in the Liverpool Central School District will be asked to approve a $153 million budget on May 16.
The 2017-18 proposed budget is up 2.96 percent from this fiscal year. The district is looking to raise $82,829,680 in property taxes, which represents a 2.45 percent increase from last year. That is within the district’s tax cap, according to Superintendent Dr. Mark Potter.
Under this proposal, residents of the town of Clay would pay an estimated $645.80 per $1,000 of assessed value. (The town of Clay uses partial assessments, meaning property in the town is assessed at a percentage of its market value. In Clay, the equalization rate was 4.27 percent as of August 2016; see tax.ny.gov/pit/property/learn/eqrates.htm for more information.) It amounts to about $2,758 per year, an increase of approximately $66 over the 2016-17 budget. In Salina, which assesses at full value, $27.56 per $1,000 of assessed value before STAR is applied. After STAR, district taxpayers’ bill would be an estimated $1,945.
The rest of the increase in revenue comes from state aid, the total increase in which is 2.24 percent, or $62,356,863. According to Potter, that’s still not complying with the Campaign for Fiscal Equity settlement from 2006, nor is it responding to a forum the district held in conjunction with North Syracuse on the subject back in March.
“At this point, Liverpool has lost over $50 million in Foundation Aid from that settlement,” he said. “[That] legal settlement… requires public schools to receive Foundation Funding based on a specific formula . . . which isn’t being followed.”
Potter said he still felt the forum was valuable to the community.
“I think the effort was important for the community to understand that the current mechanism for state aid planning and allocating is unpredictable, unstable, inequitable and inaccurate — illegal,” he said.
In order to compensate for the deficit, in addition to raising taxes, the district is looking to use $4.7 million from its fund balance.
The budget contains no major changes, save for cost increases in salary, health insurance, BOCES services and debt service. The district had to add eight positions in the 2016-17 fiscal year to accommodate changes in enrollment, so those had to be included in the upcoming year’s budget.
The budget vote will also include a bus proposition in which the district will seek to purchase seven large and two small buses for a total of $1,090,000 buses to be bonded over a period of five years.
The board of education still has to approve the budget, which they are expected to do at their April 24 meeting. A public hearing on the budget will be held Monday, May 8, at the district office. The vote will be held from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, May 16, at Liverpool High School.
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.