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Voorheesville begins budget discussions

"I'm trying to plan conservatively because you don't want this to happen again," said Winchell, who also said that budgeting utilities presents unique challenges.

"As you know, the natural gas has been very unstable the last two years," she said.

Winchell also spoke about negotiating salary increases for maintenance workers, including routine raises and costs associated with a possible reassignment of duties. Contracted salary increases would go up more than $27,000 and reassignment of duties could increase costs around $2,300.

"Why does that result in an increase of cost?" asked Gibson.

For instance, said Winchell, some reassignment duties include risk management and training and would add responsibilities to head custodian Don Provost, resulting in a salary increase.

As part of a proposed three-year bus plan, in 2007-2008 there is a proposal for the addition of one 60-passenger bus for $93,470, and three Chevrolet Suburbans at a cost of $114,000. Bus purchase requires no cost until 2008-2009 and the goal of the three-year plan, which would ultimately add six buses, is to maintain a purchase plan that eliminates large cost fluctuations.

Including salary increases and fuel costs, projected transportation increase in 2007-2008 is $8,865, or .89 percent.

Also, Winchell said that the district's debt service, which includes borrowing for capital projects, bus purchases and short-term borrowing, is expected to be $2,058,276, a decrease of $12,000.

The expected increase of operations and maintenance, transportation and debt service is approximately $125,000 to $4.6 million, according to Winchell. The increase in these areas would be 2.79 percent.

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