Hamburg Central School District is working to close a $2.23 million budget gap.
That’s the difference between proposed spending in the 2014-15 budget and projected revenues. The revenues include a 4.2 percent increase in the tax levy, which is the increase allowed without going over the property tax cap limit.
“We certainly got clear direction from the board,” interim Superintendent Richard Jetter said. “They are not confident about going above the tax levy limit.”
Having voters pass a budget that would raise taxes above the tax levy limit is difficult. Of the 28 school districts statewide that proposed budgets with taxes increases above the tax cap last year, only 25 percent were adopted on the first vote.
The latest draft of the Hamburg budget projects expenses at $63.79 million, with projected revenues (not including taxes) at $26.61 million. To make up the difference entirely by the tax levy, taxes would have to go up nearly 11 percent.
Since board members do not want to increase taxes that much, and the amount of state aid is uncertain at this point, there are two other strategies left to cut the gap: Use the fund balance or reduce spending.
“We have to now begin to put a plan together to see where cuts can even come from,” Jetter said.
The district offered a retirement incentive, and notice of the retirements are due March 28.
“We are crossing our fingers that the retirement incentive is enough for people to take advantage of,” Jetter said.
He said administrators plan to meet Friday to brainstorm on what reductions might be made.
“You can only cut so far,” he said.