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Belleville Henderson school approves budget with 1.55 percent tax levy hike

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BELLEVILLE — The Board of Education has adopted a 2014-15 budget that increases the tax levy 1.55 percent.

The Belleville Henderson Central School District budget, approved last week, sets next year’s spending at $9,267,465, a $177,281 increase over the current budget. The tax levy, or amount to be raised by taxes, will be $4,051,105, up by $61,834, or 1.55 percent from this year.

“Our maximum allowable tax levy increase was 1.56 percent. We were worried about qualifying for the tax rebates so we decided to put out an increase just below that,” Superintendent Rick T. Moore said.

With this budget, the district is on its way to meeting the qualifications for the property tax freeze proposed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. In year one, the state will provide tax rebates to homeowners who live in a jurisdiction that stays within the property tax cap. In year two, the state will provide tax rebates only to homeowners who live in a locality that stays within the cap and agrees to start a shared services or administrative consolidation plan.

Mr. Moore said the budget does not call for any program or staff reductions, and instead adds one teacher.

“One of the biggest challenges was how do we add a staff member,” Mr. Moore said. Board members decided the addition of an academic intervention services teacher would be in the best interests of the district.

“We worked really hard on this budget. We feel it is a good balance between budget and providing education programs we need,” Mr. Moore said.

The budget will use $755,000 from the fund balance to buy down the tax levy.

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