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Belleville Henderson board voices optimism about budget

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BELLEVILLE — With no planned program or staffing cuts and a hefty capital reserve fund, all signs look positive for the upcoming budget of the Belleville Henderson Central School District.

At the district’s Board of Education meeting Monday night, board members attributed the budget’s success to years of frugal spending.

“It’s conservative fiscal management,” said Edward F. “Ned” Martelle, board president.

The numbers have not been finalized as districts await the release of new state aid figures later this week.

However, the school’s planned $8,960,751 budget will be a 1 percent increase from the 2012-13 budget of $8,872,858.

The district is considering a 1.5 percent tax increase, which would raise the levy from $3,930,316 to $3,989,271.

Mr. Martelle said more state aid could lower the district’s tax rate increase, allowing the district to expand its offerings.

The board approved two proposals for residents to vote on with the budget — one to purchase two school buses for $176,000 or less and another to purchase a tractor for snow and ice removal for $64,000 or less.

A third potential proposal, to purchase a new truck for $44,000 or less, was struck down as board members expressed concern there were too many purchases for a single year.

“This is a lot for voters to chew in one bite,” said board member Patrick R. Jareo.

If the vehicle purchases pass, they will be funded with money from the district’s capital reserve fund, which sits at $1,206,796. Several board members reiterated the money for the purchases would not lead to higher taxes.

During the meeting, the board recognized the work of nurse Karen M. Bertram, who has worked in the district for 37 years.

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