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The Results are in: Amity FY 22-23 Surplus is $2,487,391 

February 12, 2024
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The Results are in: Amity FY 22-23 Surplus is $2,487,391 

Yet Amity Requests $$2,673,884 Budget Increase for FY24-25 despite Debt Service down $433,964

Author Note: The goal of balancing Town needs with taxpayer affordability is a challenging one.  In my view, one of the requirements of being a member of the Orange Board of Finance (OBOF) is to inform the public. In fact, I consider this an obligation of this elected position. What we are talking about is the spending of tens of millions of dollars of hard-earned money of the people who reside in the Town.  

Being a member of the OBOF requires not only monthly review of the budget expenditures but analyses of a significant volume of data. The job also requires a questioning perspective of funding requests, with a keen awareness of the difference between “wants” and “needs.”  This method not only applies to the Town budget but also to the budgets of both Amity and Orange schools, which take up a major portion of our resources.  

Over the years, one way to achieve that balance of needs and affordability is to communicate a message of “Doing More with Less,” to set a culture by which we strive to operate.  In my view, this approach is consistent both with the Town’s heritage and with what we all do in our personal lives.

In this article, I will address two topics that impacts all residents in the Amity member Towns that pay taxes. The topics are (1) FY 22-23 Amity Budget and learnings from the data; and (2) the current FY 24-25 Amity Superintendent’s Proposed Budget and summarize key points about it. 

AMITY FY 22-23 BUDGET: THE RESULTS ARE IN

Late in 2023, the Amity FY 22-23 was closed, and the results are in and are instructive to all taxpayers. As many may recall, in June 2022 the Amity FY 22-23 budget of $53,349,805 passed on the 3rd Referendum vote. The $ Budget Increase was $1,651,598, a 3.19% increase over the prior year FY 21-22 budget of $51,698,207. Now, at of the end of FY 22-23, we learn that the budget surplus for FY 22-23 was $2,487,391

Think about the data above: This FY 22-23 surplus of $2,487,391 means that for FY 22-23, Amity SPENT $50,862,414, which is the FY 22-23 budget of $53,349,805 LESS than the FY 22-23 surplus of $2,487,391.

Moreover, the $$ spent in FY 22-23 was $835,793 LESS than the entire prior FY 21-22 budget of $51,698,207.  Therefore, the amount spent in FY 22-23 was a 1.62% decrease from the FY 21-22 budget.

To visualize this, see Chart #1.  During the FY 22-23 budget development process, we started with a Superintendent’s budget with a proposed 4.99% increase, The Amity Finance Committee approved a 3.99% increase. In two referendums voters rejected both the 3.99% and 3.59% increases Then, the voters approved a 3.19% increase, which was an increase of $1,651,598.  While the Orange BOF supported up to a 0.41% increase, the amount spent for FY 22-23 was a DECREASE of 1.62%. 

For handy reference, the above data table lists the Dollar increases for each of the % increases.

But this circumstance was not a one-time thing; it has been a yearly occurrence. See Chart #2. Over the last 5-year period, the story was the same: the Amity BOE approved a budget increase (Blue bar). The Orange BOF indicated what increase it would support (Orange bar). And the Actual % spent was not only lower than the other two (Yellow bar), It was a negative %.  

That means in each of the last 5-years, like the FY 22-23 data detailed earlier, Amity got its job done spending LESS than the prior year’s budget.   In effect, in each year over the 5-year period Amity demonstrated that it could have operated with a 0% budget increase in any particular year.

Moreover because of the above, surpluses from Amity have increased significantly over the past 4 years.  See Chart 3. 

“The most important point is that Amity has highly excessive surpluses which lead to tax increases that we shouldn’t have to impose.” stated OBOF Chairman Kevin Houlihan.   “We are expecting Amity to budget for what they need and not continually over budget.”  

AMITY FY 24-25 “Superintendent’s Proposed Budget”

On January 22, Superintendent Jenn Byars presented to the Orange BOF a “Superintendent’s Proposed Budget for FY 24-25.” Summary Elements below intend to keep Member Town taxpayers informed.

  1. Budget-to-Budget increase of $2,673,884, 4.90% increase
  2. An increase of $2,673,884 is 3X the average budget increase of $861,204 (16 years)
  3. Debt service is down $433,964
  4. Non-Debt service increase, $3,107,848, 6.20% increase
  5. Staff increase request 7.58 positions
  6. Impact to Woodbridge: $1,046,044, 5.82% increase

For More Information: To view the FY 24-25 Amity Superintendent’s proposed budget as presented to the OBOF and the extended discussion about this proposal, search on-line “OGAT YouTube” and locate the 01-22-24 Orange BOF meeting.

This is an opinion not necessarily endorsed by the Woodbridge Town News.

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