Rhinebeck school budget sets 1.87% tax increase

The Rhinebeck Board of Education unanimously adopted its 2014-2015 budget April 8, almost a month ahead of the state’s deadline.

The general fund expenditures budget will be $30,851,358, an increase of 1.87 percent, which will also be the tax levy increase this year, and the lowest in 20 years, according to the district.

Assistant Superintendent Tom Burnell and Superintendent Joe Phelan told the board this was the fifth budget draft this year. The initial draft called for a 3.9 percent tax increase, which was whittled down to the 1.87 percent, about $2,776 under the tax cap. Last year’s tax rate was 2.9 percent.

“We’re just under the tax levy limit, and that was one of the charges that the board had for us at the beginning of the process,” Phelan said.

The tax levy will raise $25,974,516 in taxes. Last year’s cost per thousand was $15.32, so this year’s could be about $15.60 and will be set in August.

Phelan told the school board at their March 25 meeting that within the month he had received notice of three additional retirements , one teaching assistant and two teachers, which would lead to additional savings. Another piece of good news: the district’s insurance premium had decreased slightly.

Phelan said the total savings were $183,556. “Not huge savings, but some savings,” he said.
State aid is also up this year by 3 percent, an increase of $94,109 for a total of $3,234,583.

The budget also maintains its use of the fund balance to fund the budget.

A public hearing is set for May 13 at 7pm, right before the Board of Education meeting, in the high school library. The budget then goes to the voters May 20, from 2pm to 9pm at the Bulkeley Middle School cafeteria.

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