Sharpsville Area School Board Monday adopted a $13,790,050 final budget for the 2006-07 school year.

The final budget includes a real estate tax levy of 63 mills — two more than this year’s 61, but one less than the tentative budget’s 64. The increase translates to an extra $40 for the average taxpayer.

Business manager Jaime Roberts said the board eliminated one of the tax increase mills by making adjustments in all areas across the board, from the principals to the maintenance staff.

The budget passed 8-1 with Gerard Hanley voting against it. The millage increase passed 7-2, with Hanley and Burt DeVries voting against it.

Both Hanley and DeVries said they would’ve liked to use $100,000 from the general fund to help pare another mill from the budget.

“If we’ve got an extra $100,000, then why are we raising the budget?” DeVries asked.

“A lot of people are on a fixed income,” Hanley added. “They’re hurting with jobs and health insurance. Utilities are up and gas prices are affecting everyone.”

The money DeVries and Hanley were referring to would have come out of the general fund, which the district is required by the state to maintain at $1 million.

Ms. Roberts said the board is pledging $684,947 from the general fund to balance next year’s budget. She said the board won’t necessarily spend that money, but make it available for a worst-case scenario.

That would leave $315,053 in the general fund. Then, if the board were to take another $100,000 out to head off a mill of tax increase, the pot would be reduced to $215,053. Ms. Roberts said the board would not be comfortable at that amount of money.

Board Vice President David DeForest said the 2 mills of real estate tax will go toward the hiring of two new teachers. Instead of using the $100,000 from the general fund this year and then being forced to raise millage again next year, the 2-mill raise would essentially buy their contracts for the life of their employment at the school, he said.

A mill is $1 for every $1,000 of a property’s 1970 market value. At 63 mills, a property assessed at $10,000 would carry a tax bill of $630. Each mill brings the district $60,000.

The board also authorized the solicitation of quotes for a $500,000 loan for capital improvements. The loan they’re seeking would cover 10 years and is addressed in next year’s debt service fund.

Capital improvements the district wants to address include:

• Replacing windows in the high school.

• Fixing the sidewalk and front entrance at the middle school.

• Roofing to three sections of the middle and high schools.

• Paving the parking lot.

Ms. Roberts said the board initially planned on doing the capital improvements over a five- to six-year period, but decided to take out the loan on recommendation from the maintenance department.

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