Northville budget calls for tax increase

NORTHVILLE – The Northville Central School District Board of Education on Tuesday approved a 2013-14 budget of $10.2 million, which calls for a tax-levy increase of 4.95 percent – the maximum allowed under the state tax-cap formula.

Board President James Berlein said the tax-levy would increase from this year’s $5.3 million to $5.6 million.

“This would bring us in right at the cap,” Berlein said last Tuesday.

According to Berlein, the increase is mostly due to the rising cost of insurance and state mandates.

Further specific contents of the budget were not available at Tuesday’s meeting.

According to district Business Director Bruce Ellsworth, the 2013-14 budget would restore funding for junior varsity soccer and basketball and modified baseball and softball, which had been cut in recent years.

The district’s state aid is expected to increase for 2013-14 to $3.1 million, up from the current year’s $2.9 million.

At its previous meeting April 16, the board discussed a contingency budget that would go into effect if the proposed budget were to be rejected twice by district voters.

Ellsworth said the backup plan would cut the entire $265,000 taxa-levy increase. It would eliminate all athletics from the budget.

“It would cut [almost] everything not mandated,” Berlein said last week.

Interim Superintendent Debra Lynker said last week the contingency plan would shift some costs among departments and cut funds to BOCES.

Lynker said the district only has one student in a BOCES special education program at the moment.

“But the potential to have a couple more there is pretty high,” she said.

Berlein said the BOCES cuts in the contingency budget would put the district out on a limb.

The budget for the current school year totaled $9.6 million and cut spending by $63,718, about 1 percent, but it carried a 2.5 percent increase in the tax levy.

Board Vice President Sheldon Ginter said district officials have worked hard to keep the proposed tax increase to a minimum.

“We’ve had discussions and we are trying hard not to compromise the programs we had, at the same time being fair to our taxpayers,” he said.

The public vote on the budget and school board elections will take place from noon to 8 p.m. May 21.

The Northville and Mayfield Central School District have sought to merge in an effort to consolidate resources and save money.

Mayfield voters approved the merger plan last year, but the majority of Northville voters rejected it. Northville voters will be asked to weigh in on the merger again in a straw poll in June.

Arthur Cleveland can be reached by email at