Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

May 8, 2013

Some would see tax decrease in Newfane budget

BY JOE OLENICK joe.olenick@lockportjournal.com
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — NEWFANE — If the Newfane School District’s proposed 2013-14 budget is approved by voters, school district residents in the towns of Cambria, Lockport and Wilson could see their property taxes go down.

If all factors remain the same, school district residents with basic STAR exemptions in Lockport and Cambria would see a drop of 43 cent per $1,000 of assessed value. Those in Wilson would see a 47 cent per $1,000 reduction.

Those in Newfane however, would see an increase of about 73 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, with the basic STAR exemption. The town’s equalization rate is expected to drop to 92 percent, school district officials said.

On May 21 Newfane residents will consider a $33.6 million budget, which is a $99,422 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 increase is below the district’s cap of 4.3 percent.

Newfane is slated to receive about $17.6 million in state aid, up about $940,000 from the 2012-13 school year.

Superintendent Christine J. Tibbetts said like many other districts, Newfane was socked with major increases in healthcare, Teacher and Employee Retirement Systems.

“It was a lot of diligent work,” Tibbetts said.

The district will use $3.2 million from reserves to balance the budget. One elementary position will be cut, while a part-time counselor will be added at the elementary school.

Tibbetts said the budget includes adding a section of kindergarten and first grade. Grades two, three, five and six will be reduced a section. Class sizes would average 20 kids per class in kindergarten, 21 per class in first grade, 22 in second grade, 23 in third grade, 26 in fifth grade and 25 in sixth grade.

Polls will be open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. May 21 at the Newfane Elementary School on Transit Road.

Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.