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Smoke and mirrors in Eldred budget

May 12, 2011

Once again, at taxpayer expense, the Eldred Central School District touts its financial prowess. The basically flat budget that they talk about is $16 million. In three previous budget cycles, the board and administration has produced, printed and signed a document that said they required $16 million to operate the school.

In good faith, the voters approved these budgets. Auditors’ reports, available to anyone, show that only $14 million was actually spent, leaving surpluses in each of those cycles. That is why there exists a $2 million surplus. Had this surplus been applied to last year’s tax levy, as required by state law, the tax levy would have been just a little over $8 million instead of the $10 million that was levied.

Eldred Central School District’s strategy appears to be to incrementally add the $2 million to last year’s overstated $16 million proposed budget, and then reduce the tax levy by the $2 million surplus (fund balance). Why would the voters approve a 6.75% tax increase when the board is already holding $2 million of their money?

If the voters approve this budget, in effect they are approving a 25% tax increase over what last year’s tax levy should have been. Looking at the situation in another way, why would the voters now approve the spending of the surplus on a capital project, like the building condition survey, when they have already voted it down three times? Are they not smart enough to see that the board has hidden it in the regular budget? Besides my one vote, all I can do is try to inform you about the truth.

Those whom you have elected have forgotten who they work for. They think they are working for the educational system. Good luck with bringing them back to the truth, whenever that may be.

Paul A. Clark Jr.
Barryville, NY