Brown Deer - Looking to come in at a zero increase to its tax levy, the Brown Deer district Finance Committee decided not to approve a draft 2012-2013 budget Tuesday.
The draft budget called for a levy increase of approximately 1 percent for the coming 2012-2013 school year, though committee members said they would like to lessen or eliminate any increase to reward the taxpayers for their generosity in approving by referendum last November $22 million in facilities projects.
A little more than a third of that proposed 1 percent increase comes from those projects, according to Finance Director Emily Koczela.
Koczela said the levy increases from the referendum funds will be phased over an eight-year term to spread out the impact on taxpayers.
The remainder of the proposed increase would address an estimated $800,000 decrease in state aid in the coming year, along with decreases in revenue from state Chapter 220 and Open Enrollment programs.
She said the district is looking to spend around $789,000 less in the coming year as well, though that number needs to increase now that a zero levy increase is on the table.
"We just looked for anything we could do more efficiently," Koczela said.
Without cost-saving measures, the district would need to increase the levy substantially.
"If we had just replaced lost revenue (with taxes), we would have been north of seven (percent increase)," Koczela said.
She said the reconstruction and renovation of various buildings around the district, as well as the impending demolition of Dean Elementary School, will eliminate the consistent and costly repairs that have historically swelled the facilities budget.
"Our bills were falling already last year due to the lack of need for drastic maintenance," Koczela said.
The district will save money on its property insurance, Open Enrollment expenses, health insurance and paperless initiatives in certain areas of the district, as well as a variety of places from which Koczela is looking to shave dollars.
According to Koczela, an updated version of the budget will need to be approved at the School Board's Aug. 28 meeting so that it can be published a month in advance of the district's Oct. 4 annual meeting.
"We're going to go back and give it another shot," said Koczela.
- Michael Meidenbauer
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