School Superintendent Jason Bing and Business Administrator Michael Derderian presented an overview of the 2012-13 school budget at last night’s Bloomfield council meeting.
Bing said the budget is coming in at just over $90 million, resulting in an increase in school taxes of +1.65 percent versus last year. The increase means that on average each homeowner would pay $244 more in taxes annually.
Bing pointed out that the mandated 2 percent cap on the budget does not even keep pace with the annual cost of living increase, and that the state has been underfunding the Bloomfield school district over the past three years.
He also went over some of the cost-saving tactics being used to keep the budget increase to a minimum, such as finding opportunities for shared services and an energy audit that will lead to energy savings of 30-35 percent over the next four years.
There will be public hearings on the budget at Watsessing School and the High School on Monday, April 9 (at 7:20 and 8:00 p.m., respectively) and on Wednesday, April 11 at Brookdale and Oak View Schools, also at 7:20 and 8:00 p.m. Residents will have the opportunity to vote on the budget on Tuesday, April 17.
In other business, the council formally passed a number of ordinances on second reading, including the designation of a downtown Business Improvement Zone to replace the existing Special Improvement District in Bloomfield Center, and the controversial “motor vehicle response fee for out-of-town residents,” better known as the “crash tax.”
Resolutions to appoint six new firefighters all passed unanimously. The appointment of Nicole Williams to the Parking Authority Board also passed, with five votes; council representatives Bernard Hamilton and Nick Joanow abstained. In addition, the council voted unanimously to support the Bloomfield Center Alliance application for a Downtown Business Improvement Zone loan.
The next council meeting will be a conference meeting to be held at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, April 9, in the 2nd floor conference room in the Law Enforcement Building.