Sag Harbor’s Proposed $39.9 Million Budget Stays Below Cap

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Sag Harbor historic budget trends since the inception of the state imposed cap on tax levy increases. Chris Lester image

Budget proposal: $39,907,110

Year-over-year spending increase: $1,133,121 (2.92 percent)

Tax levy included in budget: $36,288,769 (3.49 percent increase)

Tax cap limitation: Below the maximum increase

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Voters in Sag Harbor will head to the polls Tuesday to decide whether to support a 2017-18 budget proposal of $39.9 million, which includes increased spending to maintain what’s in place and even expand some programs and services for students.

The district could have opted to raise next year’s tax levy by as much as 3.86 percent, but the Sag Harbor School Board in April intentionally opted for a lower levy increase, 3.49 percent, to send a message to the community that it recognized the need to control spending.

Included in the proposal is more money for a larger number of students taking part in the International Baccalaureate program at Pierson High School; money for additional Chromebook laptops and exercise equipment at Pierson; funding for a growing athletic program; money for certain facilities repairs and maintenance projects; and more. The budget adds staffing in special education and English as a new language programs, and in custodial and clerical areas. It also includes about $400,000 to buy out leases on four school buses so Sag Harbor will own them outright, but that expense would mostly be offset by revenue from a shared transportation contract with the Wainscott School District, according to district officials.

School officials estimated for an East Hampton Town resident with a home valued at about $1 million, taxes would increase by around $178, and for a Southampton Town resident with a similar home value, the approximate tax increase would be $164.50.

Voting in Sag Harbor is Tuesday, May 16, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the Pierson High School gym.

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