The damage to the pocketbook at Whitehall Central School could be as high as three-quarters of a million dollars.
That was the early report that school Superintendent James Watson had for the Whitehall School Board of Education at its Jan. 19 meeting.
“We did get a projection and Miss (Jodi) Bradshaw did some computations and we came up with a reduction of around $778,000,” said Watson to the board the evening after Gov. Daniel Patterson delivered his budget proposal to state lawmakers.
“It looks like $515,000 is what we would be most likely losing,” added Watson. “At the high end, you are looking at in excess of a 14-percent hit to the taxpayers of what we would be losing.”
Under the current budget, Watson said, a change of between $53,000 and $55,000 represents a 1-percent shift in the overall picture.
“We had made for some provisions in planning last year,” said Watson, who has repeatedly predicted that the budget situation at the state level could get worse before it gets better. “We will continue to monitor the situation.”
Watson said it would be another two weeks before the business office had a better idea of what impact the governor’s proposed plan would have on the tax levy.
“The other thing to remember is that all of these numbers are preliminary,” said Watson.
New York State Assemblyman and Whitehall village attorney Tony Jordan said, in a statement, that he felt the proposed budget did not go far enough to protect taxpayers.
“You have to give the governor credit for proposing what would be during normal times, a great budget,” said Jordan. “He proposed tough but necessary cuts, and included a few sensible initiatives such as the consolidation of duplicative state agencies and a moratorium on land acquisition by the state.
“The problem is these aren’t normal times,” added Jordan. “We have to go farther if there is any hope of restoring state finances, protecting taxpayers and bringing good-paying jobs back to the state.”