Issuu on Google+ Vol. 15/Number 17 Catch and Release! Fire district election date could change By ASHLEY HELMS STAFF REPORTER Eastchester senior Kristin Martin throws the ball to second base during an April 22 tilt with Dobbs Ferry. Behind Martin and pitcher Danielle Cacciola, the Eagles have jumped out to an undefeated start this year. For more, please see page 15. Photo/ Mike Smith Bronxville district adopts $45M school budget By DANIEL OFFNER STAFF REPORTER An adopted $45.4 million budget for the Bronxville Union Free School District rests in the hands of voters as the May school elections draw near. On April 18, the Bronxville Board of Education adopted the district’s spending plan, which poses a .93 percent tax rate increase. After several budget workshops, Board of Education members agreed to cut the costs of discretionary equipment, supply and contractual spending by 2 percent. Additionally, the board incorporated the cost to replace a vacancy in the physical education department and the potential need for an additional kindergarten section. In order to offset any tax increases as a result of this, the board agreed to allocate an additional $100,000 from its fund balance to cover the cost. The adopted budget projects a spending increase of 2.53 percent over last year, when voters approved a $44.2 million budget with no layoffs or reductions in class size. Of the three biggest costs driving this year’s school budget, increases for state employee and teacher retirement systems account for ap- The Bronxville Board of Education has adopted a $45 million budget that will increase school taxes .93 percent in the upcoming year. The adopted plan poses no reductions in staffing, school programming or class sizes. File Photo proximately $958,500 of the $1.1 million adopted increase. Unlike last year’s school budget, which upped the levy .98 percent to meet the threshold mandated by the state, the district has calculated a levy increase of approximately 2.44 percent. The adopted levy is exempt from reductions to debt service and excess teacher requirement costs above the 2 percent allowed, falling well below the calculated 3.23 April 26, 2013 percent cap limit. “The board strongly believes these budget measures are very helpful to long-term sustainability,” said School Board President David Brashear in a recent interview with The Town Report. According to Assistant Superintendent Dan Carlin, not only did the levy drop significantly since the tentative proposal was made BUDGET continued on page 8 A bill intended to change the Eastchester Fire District election date to November, and sync it up with town elections, is currently in the state Assembly and Senate, which would make it easy to pass if residents are supportive. This is the first time that a bill to move the election date from its current December schedule has gained support in the state Senate since it petered out in the Assembly last year. If passed by both houses and made into law, the date change would effect this year’s election. Moving the fire district election to coincide with the general election has been a topic of debate over the past year, with some residents and fire commissioners saying it would save about $30,000, while others are concerned that the fire district election would get overlooked. Assemblywoman Amy Paulin and Sen. George Latimer, both Democrats, are sponsoring the two bills. A community forum will be hosted in May to hear the community’s opinion, Paulin said, and if they’re supportive, the bill could easily pass since it’s present in both houses. “Last year we had a bill, but there was no bill in the Senate,” Paulin said. “It’s more viable this way.” Paulin said that, with local bills, it’s necessary to get the opinion of residents before proceeding and so far, she hasn’t heard much feedback yet. Though the bill would save the fire district money, Paulin said that a significant concern is that the community won’t be paying as much attention to the fire board. Holding a separate fire board election costs about $40,000, while the district only budgets about $10,000 for their yearly election. “After being involved with the League of Women Voters and now as an elected official, I understand the pros and cons,” Paulin said. The intent is to get more voters to the polls, and some feel that changing the date would make it easier to do so. Voter turnout for the fire board elections is generally quite low; just 1,174 votes were cast last year in an election that includes Eastchester, Tuckahoe and Bronxville. This was the highest turn out since 2000, when 2,600 people came out for an election that saw George Mayor defeat Peter Iodice for an open seat. The heightened turnout in the December 2012 election has been attributed to earlier voting hours. In past years, polls were only open between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m., but they were extended to begin at 2 p.m. last year in hopes of attracting more voters. Eastchester Town Supervisor Anthony Colavita, a Republican, said that, while he is supportive of a heightened voter turnout, he doesn’t think that moving the election to November is the best idea as fire board commissioners are not politically endorsed candidates. “It would be making something partisan that is non-partisan,” Colavita said. The supervisor said that combining the fire district election with the school board elections in May could be a solution, because they are non partisan elections as well and it would improve voter turnout for both the school boards and the fire district. “There isn’t really a reason why ELECTION continued on page 9 Winner of a 2012 NYPA award for Sports Feature

The Town Report, 4-26-2013

Related publications