Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Public hearings will be held over the next week on school district budgets. Residents will vote on the spending plans May 21.
All six eastern Niagara school districts will be asking for more from their respectively tax levies, but all increase are below the New York state property tax cap.
• Lockport City Schools voters will decide on an $83 million budget. The budget is a 3.96 percent or $3.1 million increase in spending and calls for a 2 percent or $692,000 increase in the tax levy, below Lockport’s tax cap of 5.04 percent.
The hearing will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the district offices, 130 Beattie Ave.
The budget would require roughly $36 million from local taxes, as well as $39.67 million in state aid, which is about $966,000 or 2.5 percent more than what Lockport received during the current school year.
Along with the recently adopted $83 million budget, district residents will vote on a capital improvement project. The project will include a number of repairs and upgrades needed throughout the district, most of which were tagged in a state-mandated building condition survey.
The survey, completed in 2010, pointed out a host of repairs and upgrades that were needed. Some of those items were addressed in a $18.9 million project that was approved in 2011.
The proposed project totals just over $22.1 million, covered by state building aid and about $3.1 million from the Lockport district’s capital reserve. So there is no additional tax impact on residents, said Deborah Coder, the district’s assistant superintendent for finance.
• Barker district residents will consider a $19 million budget. The budget is a $450,000 cut in spending and needs $132,500 or 3.5 percent more from the tax levy, a total of about $3.8 million.
The 3.5 percent rise is well below the district’s tax cap of 90 percent. The public hearing for the budget is at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Herbert Ludwig Fine Arts Hall, 1628 Quaker Road, Barker.
Also on the ballot is the proposed library tax levy. The move would allow the Barker Free Library to become a school district public library.
The Barker Free Library Board of Trustees decided to pursue becoming a school district public library in order to stabilize its funding and provide elected representation to the taxpayers, library officials said. If residents vote for approval on May 21, Barker school district residents will be taxed to fund the library.
Voters will also elect trustees on May 21.
• Newfane residents will consider a $33.6 million budget, which is a $760,000 or 2.31 percent increase in spending and would require $12.7 million from local taxes, an increase of about $250,000 or 2 percent.
The public hearing is at 7 p.m. Tuesday in room 121 of the Newfane Early Childhood Center, 6048 Godfrey Road, Burt.
• Royalton-Hartland’s $22 million budget is a $37,000 cut in spending and will raise the levy by 3 percent or $272,000 from the current school year. Revenue from taxes is expected to be around $9.3 million.
The district is slated to receive $11.1 million in state aid, a reduction of a little over $37,000 compared with the current school year.
The hearing will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at the high school, 54 State St., Middleport.
• Starpoint has a $46.5 million spending plan up for a vote. The budget, a 2.62 percent or $1.2 million increase in spending, would require roughly $25.8 million from taxes, a tax levy rise of 3.18 percent or $800,000. That is below the district’s tax levy cap of 4.86 percent.
That would cause the tax rate to rise about 1.99 percent, or 43 cents per $1,000 of assessed land value. The average rate would rise to about $22.23 per $1,000 for Starpoint residents.
The public hearing is at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the district offices, 4363 Mapleton Road, Pendleton.
• In Wilson, the district’s $24.3 million budget is what voters will decide on. The budget is a spending increase of about 3.49 percent, while the tax levy would increase by 4 percent or $435,987, which is below Wilson’s tax cap of 5 percent.
Wilson is slated to receive $11.8 million in state aid, $541,000 or 4.8 percent more than the current school year.
The hearing will be held at 7 p.m. May 14 in the middle/high school auditorium, 374 Lake St., Wilson.Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.