At the Octorara Board meeting, from April 15th, there were no additional changes to the budget to report from the previous work session meeting. The current proposed millage for Chester County is 36.80 which is an increase of .14 mills or .382%. The current proposed millage for Lancaster County is 27.79 which is an increase of .30 mills or 1.091%.
Dr Newcome, as requested by the board at the previous meeting, presented his list of “Budget Reduction Considerations” reorganized by, what he considered, priority. An additional $115,000 in spending cuts would allow a zero increase in Chester County.
Dr Newcome recommended the following four:
- $100,000 savings from bus route adjustments (does not include the double bus plan)
- $10,000 by cutting Kindergarten Summer Outreach
- $5,000 from the “savings” fund
- $30,000 from cutting building budgets by 5%
The total savings in cuts appears to be $145,000. However, the savings from bus route adjustments, as Dr Newcome explained, may fall short. He added the 5% additional cuts to budging budgets as a safeguard. The building budgets have a technical cut of 10% already. This was by keeping the year-over-year budget numbers flat. The 5% cut will be an actual cut in spending.
Dr Newcome also explained that the Kindergarten Summer Outreach is approximately 10 years old, and on close examination is no longer serving the original purpose. For this reason, he felt comfortable letting it go.
These cuts, if incorporated into the final budget, would allow a zero increase in Chester County and a .20 mill increase in Lancaster County. Last year, Lancaster County had a 3% decrease due to rebalancing. According to statements made during the meeting, the increase in Lancaster County would still have them paying a millage rate lower than 3-4 years ago.
At the very bottom of Dr Newcome’s list of budget items, and the least desirous to cut, was the complete elimination of busing and Kindergarten.
There was general agreement among the board for Dr Newcome to move forward, incorporating his top four items into the budget. Mr Ganow expressed interest in also incorporating other items, such as Dr Newcome’s energy saving recommendations and paper usage reductions.
The final vote on the proposed budget was held. The current proposed budget includes a .382% increase for Chester County and a 1.091% increase for Lancaster County, but does not yet include the additional budget reductions. The final vote, on the final actual budget, will be in June. In the final vote on the proposed budget this evening, Mr Hume was the only dissenting vote.