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Katonah-Lewisboro School Board OK's Deeper Tax-Levy Cut Than Predicted

The Katonah-Lewisboro school board at its meeting on Thursday, July 30.
The Katonah-Lewisboro school board at its meeting on Thursday, July 30. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie

LEWISBORO, N.Y. -- Katonah-Lewisboro's school board voted Thursday to officially adopt the district's tax levy, which is the total amount of property tax revenue devoted to the 2015-16 budget. However, the final amount represents a cut that is even more than what was approved by voters in May.

The adopted levy is $95,904,695, which represents a $3,055,415, or 3.09-percent cut, from the 2014-15 amount. The cut that was part of the approved budget would have been by $2,725,415, or 2.75 percent.

The measure was approved 6-0 by the board, with Trustee Stephanie Tobin being absent.

The change in the levy was made possible because the district will be using $790,000 from its retirement contribution reserve instead of the $460,000 previously proposed.

The revised levy translates into tax-rate changes for residents.

Lewisboro residents are expected to receive a tax-rate cut of 4.17 percent, versus a drop of four percent that was previously projected. Bedford (Katonah) residents are slated to get a slight tax-rate increase of .31 percent, which is less than the .48-percent hike predicted in May. Residents in Pound Ridge is slated to get a tax-rate cut of 8.17 percent, more than the 8.01-percent cut previously anticipated. Homeowners in North Salem are expected to get a cut of 6.92 percent, more than the 6.79-percent drop previously expected.

On June 30, which was the last day of the previous school year, the district had $ 15,044,717 in reserves, an increase of $68,512 from exactly a year earlier. Most of the funds have been set aside in reserve funds that entail specific purposes, such as paying for tax refunds and retirement contributions. Some of the amount, $3,450,000, is included in the 2015-16 budget as money to return to the taxpayers, which is funding that can be used instead of tax-levy dollars. The district is also holding onto $4,246,653 in funds not designated for a specific purpose. School districts in New York State are allowed to hold up to four percent of their total annual budget amount as reserve funds without a specific use.

A copy of a presentation showing the school district's latest financial figures is available here.

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