AuSable Valley school budget is below tax cap

The proposed budget for AuSable Valley Central School District would increase the tax levy by 2.62%, to $14,168,500. This is below the 2.69% allowable state tax cap for AVCS.

The district will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 14 at the AuSable Valley Middle-High School Auditorium in Clintonville.

The total budget increase is 2.37%, to $33,860,944. This is an increase of $1,076,296 from last year, when it was $33,076,296.

Superintendent Paul Savage said the biggest impact on this year’s budget is from a 13% increase in health insurance costs. This equates to around $1 million for the district for the 2019-20 fiscal year. AVCS belongs to the Clinton-Essex-Warren-Washington BOCES Consortium for Health Insurance, along with 17 other surrounding school districts, which are all seeing the same increase and impact on their budgets, Savage said.

State aid to the district has increased by $325,000 — a minimal increase, Savage said. Around 53% of the revenues for district’s budget come from state aid.

This year’s budget is similar to those of the last few years, coming in under the tax cap with smaller increases in state aid and revenues, while facing larger fixed costs like rising health insurance rates.

“It’s getting to be a lot more challenging to balance the budget with lower revenues and rising costs,” Savage wrote in an email.

The public vote on the budget is from noon to 9 p.m. Tuesday, May 21 at the Middle-High School Cafeteria. Three seats are up for relection on the Board of Education, each for a three-year term. Candidates Scott R. Bombard, Susan J. Richards and David B. Whitford, all incumbents, are running unopposed.