Watertown school district’s proposed budget up $9M from last year

Published: Apr. 20, 2023 at 5:32 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - To run the Watertown City School District next academic year, the proposed budget will go up by $9 million.

The board of education approved the $92 million spending plan for the next academic year.

Board President Jason Harrington and Vice President Rande Richardson say the increase is due largely to personnel costs, things like raises, benefits and insurance premiums

“These are things we have to accommodate for in our budget and that is part of what every organization is facing right now,” said Richardson.

During that meeting, a 5 to 1 vote cut the tax levy increase from 3.5 percent to 2.25 percent.

The tax levy is the amount of money raised through taxes. So it’s an increase, but not as much as what was first proposed.

“We all knew that we wanted to close that gap and we were able to do that by almost a quarter of a million dollars using reserve funds that will offset what the taxpayer pays in,” said Harrington.

What that means for the actual tax rate - what a property owner pays in taxes - isn’t clear. We reached out to the district’s assistant superintendent of finance for an answer but didn’t hear back

Also included in this budget is the addition of an athletic trainer, something Harrington says got put back on the table after the incident that happened to Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin.

“It’s important to have someone at our athletic events should anything happen where they are needed,” said Harrington.

Those looking to give feedback on the budget can do so at a public hearing on May 2.

Then voters will be able to decide if it gets passed on May 16.