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Two Big Decisions For WCS Residents

Residents in the Waterville Central School District will vote on two important decisions regarding the future of the district.

In March residents will decide on a $12.8 million capital improvement project that will bring energy efficiency methods to the district, as well as update the Junior-Senior High cafeteria and replace the turf carpet at Brothertown Stadium.

In May residents will vote on the district’s 2020-21 budget that, as of preliminary projections, will require 60 percent of voters to give approval for passage.

Business administrator Tracy Leone gave board members the first look at the upcoming spending plan at last week’s meeting. As she does at the beginning of every budget season, Leone merely rolled over the costs from this year’s budget with known expense increases factored as well.

That would take this year’s $18.8 million budget to just over $19 million, she said.

However, under the tax cap formula set by the state, Waterville must decrease its tax levy by $4,000. This year the state has decreased part of the formula that uses 2 percent as a base to 1.81 percent.

Leone said if the formula returns to using the 2 percent base, Waterville can increase its tax levy by $6,000. The tax levy is the total amount the district is allowed to raise by property taxes.

“We’re in a negative situation as of right now,’’ Leone said.

Waterville has an option to solve that by asking voters to give a super majority, or 60 percent, approval to the budget at the May 19 vote. That would happen if the board decides to adopt a budget that contains a property tax increase.

Otherwise, to meet the state cap requirements, WCSD will have to make significant reductions in spending to allow for the known increases, such as salaries, fuel and health care. A 60 percent majority with a small tax increase would let the district keep existing programs and cover the known increases.

Board member Russell Stewart said the district will have to educate people on the importance of giving the budget at least 60 percent support. “We can’t go…

The full story is in this week's edition of the newspaper. 

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