GERMANTOWN–Two was a charm Tuesday as voters in the Germantown Central School District approved the second budget submitted to them for the upcoming school year.
A total of 483 voters turned out (including four absentee ballots), just over half as many as the 929 who voted during the first round in May.
The $13.7-million spending plan passed by 336 Yes votes to 151 No votes.
The first budget, which was slightly smaller than the one adopted Tuesday, failed by more than 100 votes in May, possibly because it would have raised the tax levy by more than 5%. The new budget will increase the tax levy by 1.7%, because the board agreed this time around to use more of the district’s reserve funds to offset costs.
The state has set a cap on school tax levy increases at 2%, although the law allows larger increases if 60% or more of those voting approve the higher tax rate.
There are two voting machines in the school on Main Street, for a district that includes the towns of Clermont and Livingston and parts of Ancram, Gallatin, Taghkanic and the Village of Tivoli. “Do I know my town or what,” quipped board of education member Ralph DelPozzo with a grin, as results were called out from the second machine, confirming passage of the budget.
In the debate leading up to the adoption by the board of both budget propositions Mr. DelPozzo voted against each proposal, saying he wanted all faculty positions put back into the plan, with the use of additional reserve funds. Once the budgets were proposed to the public, however he said he supported them.
The alternative to Tuesday’s budget would have been a so-called contingency budget, which limits spending in most categories to current levels, permits no tax increase and curtails extracurricular activities. That calamity has now been avoided for another year.
The Board of Education again offered an optional survey to all voters, asking multiple-choice questions about the budget and the state of the school. Survey results should be available next week, said board clerk Linda Griffin.