The Berlin Central School District passed its 2017-2018 budget at its workshop meeting on April 6. The budget will be $20,127,758, which is $502,720 more than this year’s budget, an increase from budget to budget of $2.56%.[private]
The tax levy will increase by $112,472, which is 1.25% more than this year. This keeps it under the tax cap, so it will just need a simple majority to pass.
When this budget was passed, the State budget had not yet been passed, so the District was using the State aid estimate from the Governor’s budget, which was an increase of 1.4%, or $136,790. Dr. Young said he did not think this figure would increase by more than $100,000 or so when the State budget was passed, and he recommended that any additional State aid that the District receives be put into the Capital Reserve or the Debt Reserve.
The thing that made it possible to balance the budget was a refund from the BOCES Health Insurance Consortium of $274,000. Each year the ten districts in the Consortium pay in an estimated figure for their share of the Consortium’s cost, and at the end of the year actual costs are figured and refunds given as required. In the current fiscal year the amount budgeted for this refund is $91,000, and in the upcoming year it will be $274,000, which creates $183,000 more revenue in the 2017-18 budget. This news came just three days before the budget was passed, in a letter that was received on Monday, April 3.
The District also had a major reduction in its capital expense budget because last year it transferred $280,146 to its Debt Service Fund because State aid increased a lot last year when the Gap Elimination Adjustment was discontinued. This year it budgeted a $20,000 transfer to the Debt Service Fund, which reduced its overall expense budget by $260,146.
By means of all of the budgetary inputs mentioned above, the District was able to balance its budget despite a projected increase in total operating costs of $741,716.
There were three components of the District’s operating costs which were reduced in next year’s budget. NYS Teachers retirement costs are anticipated to be $102,850 lower because the contribution rate has been reduced this year; transportation cost is anticipated to be $46,551 lower because of reduced fuel cost; and Utilities are $14,259 lower because of reduced energy prices. There are also four teachers retiring. All will be replaced, but the new hires will be younger teachers at lower salaries, which lowers the District’s operating costs.
The District will apply the same amount of fund balance to next year’s budget as they did to this year’s budget – $450,000, so that number neither helped nor hurt the budget. [/private]