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Mamaroneck School Budget Suggests 2.07 Percent Tax Levy Hike

MAMARONECK, N.Y. – The cuts specified Tuesday in the Mamaroneck School District 2012-13 budget proposal don't include the administration's recommended outsourcing of transportation services or the move to use public transportation that a group of CSEA members rallied against before the board of education meeting.

The school administration presented its recommended budget to the board, which calls for a $9,151 increase over last year, a 0.01 percent budget-to-budget increase. That translates to a 2.07 percent increase in the tax levy, or the total amount the school asks to collect from the community through property taxes.

Superintendent Robert Shaps said the transportation issue is still under consideration , but that the budget he recommended to the board Tuesday night didn't touch it.

"The recommended budget does not reflect any cost savings or changes to transportation," Shaps said.

What the budget does recommend is eliminating about 15 full-time positions through efficiencies. For example, Shaps recommends eliminating one speech and language therapist due to declining case loads. The recommended budget also includes adding around eight positions, including five occupational therapists.

While the district's costs increased $2.3 million, 81.7 percent of which is due to salary and benefit obligations, those cuts allowed for a budget recommendation that falls under the 2 percent tax levy cap. With exclusions, which include debt service and pensions for teachers (TRS) and employees (ERS), the district could increase its tax levy by $2,760,837, or 2.5 percent.

"I applaud the work done so far on trimming the budget," said Jonathan Sacks, a member of the Citizen Financial Advisory Committee. "Being intimately involved, you can see where a lot of the savings are coming in and how efficiencies are being gained."

However, Sacks added the tax rate increase of 3.43 percent for homeowners could still be reduced further.

While the tax levy is the total amount of money collected, the tax rate is the percentage each individual homeowner pays and is affected by assessed values.  "I think that we have to be cognizant of what the public can afford and perhaps we should take another cut to see what other opportunities exist," Sacks said.

Based on a home in the Town of Mamaroneck with an assessed value of $20,000, the average cost to the taxpayer will be $15,812, or $790.59per $1,000. This represents an increase of $525 per year.

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