Draft 2013-2014 Clarkstown School Budget Includes Property Tax Increase

Clarkstown School District Assistant Superintendent for Business, Facilities and Fiscal Management John LaNave presented a proposed school budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year to the Clarkstown Board of Education on Thursday. The budget would retain a $9 million gap and increase the property tax levy by 4.3 percent, while preventing cuts to current programs and staff. Expenses are expected to rise by $13 million, mainly from pension programs and FICA costs, but the $6.7 million in revenues cannot meet the increase. This leaves $6,301,000 million gap between expenses and revenues which needs to be addressed. In order to close the gap, an unrestricted reserve fund could be used, though LaNave mentioned that this may be subject to restrictions, could deplete the fund, and would only function as a one-time fix. Raising the property tax levy could provide a solution, but would also require an override of the state’s property tax cap. The presentation was a preview for the next fiscal year and does not function as a final proposal. A complete draft budget will be presented to the school board on March 14.