The has unanimously approved the 2012-13 budget of $5.62 million, a 2.24 percent increase from this year.
The official budget, which will be announced again at the May 7 board meeting, stayed under the state tax cap by just $16,000. While the basic cap is set at 2 percent, certain costs are exempt.
Farmingdale officials did not vote to opt out of the state cap. For the past four years, according to , the board has gotten used to working to keep tax increases to a minimum.
"For the past four years, the average tax increase has been less than 2 percent. To get under the cap wasn't as awe inspiring as some people think."
The 2012-13 budget calls for a 0.73 percent property tax levy increase from this year, bringing it up to $3.56 million.
Although the board is in the clear this year, the 2013-14 budget is already a worry.
"There's no more fat to trim off the meat now," said Ekstrand, who said rising pension costs and necessary projects may make for a tougher budget season next year.
Pensions, which cannot be exempt from the tax cap, accounted for $143,000 of the current budget, according to Ekstrand. With pension costs due to rise almost $40,000, the board may have to choose between cutting more from other programs or exceeding the cap.
Also not exempt from the cap are road improvements, which Ekstrand believes are sorely needed yet difficult to finance.
"Sullivan and Manetto Roads haven't been paved in 15 or 20 years…but if we do the roads, we have to increase taxes and it would be over the cap."
Check out the PDF of the budget on the right side of your screen.