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Letter: Leahy Addresses Budget Surplus

I would take issue with three points made in the article entitled “Amity Superintendent Addresses 2019 Budget Surplus.”

First, Amity Superintendent Jenn Byars infers that the Amity surplus for FY 19-20 was due to the pandemic.  It was not.  The surplus for Amity for FY 19-20 was $3,449,000, only $321,495 higher than the FY 17-18 surplus of $3,127,505.  The annual budget surplus situation at Amity is historic, habitual, and overtaxes residents in Orange & Member Towns every year.

Secondly, the Amity BOE approved $1,498,223 in End-of-Year (EOY) purchases, nearly triple the amount of $515,077 as stated in the article.

Finally, Superintendent Byars suggested that having surpluses helps taxpayers as improvements can be paid without the need to take out bonds.  I disagree with that assessment.

I would argue surpluses in budgets OVERTAX residents right in the immediate year in which they happen.  To quantify this impact, Orange taxpayers have spent $1,300,000 in TAXES in each of the LAST 4 YEARS for what ended up being an Amity SURPLUS due to systemic Amity over-budgeting.  These amounts are an unnecessary burden to every taxpayer of Orange, Bethany, and Woodbridge.

Jim Leahy

Vice-Chairman, Orange Board of Finance

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