NEWCOMB — Newcomb Central School got its new budget to stay below the state tax cap for the district.
The tax-levy amount in Newcomb’s proposed budget went up 8.15 percent, from $4.07 million to $4.4 million.
But because the district has a substantial payment to make on a building safety project bond, its cap formula was set at 8.45 percent by the state.
“We are under the tax cap,” Superintendent Clark “Skip” Hults said this week. “They allow you an exemption for the (bond) payments.”
The bond payment for 2014-15 is $383,780. The district also owes $281,838 on debt service for a 2005-06 building project at the school.
The biggest issue for Newcomb Central’s budget was debt service on the last building loan, Hults said.
“We made a decision to pay back $2 million we borrowed within five years. On a small building like ours, it’s a hefty amount. We felt, as a community, we’d rather take the pain short-term and get it paid off.”
The budget totals $5.9 million, up from $5.4 million this year, including a planned fund balance of $500,000.
Teachers are in the budget for 2 percent contractual raises, while the support staff contract is under negotiation and administrators received no raises for 2014-15.
Newcomb uses the State Homestead Act to set property taxes, so the tentative tax rate for district residents for 2014-15 would be $3.55 per $1,000 of assessment, up from $3.28 last time, and $17.30 for non-residents, up from $15.99 before.
The district had a $96,000 increase in State Teacher Retirement System, health insurance, and other benefit costs.
“Employee benefits by far is the biggest amount (of increase) we’re facing, after debt service,” Hults said.
He said putting budgets together under the state cap is challenging and stressful. They have to balance programming for students, community concerns and financial obligations.
They’ve tried to take all of those into account in the new district budget, Hults said.