The three highest tax hikes proposed by Niagara County districts- Niagara Wheatfield, Lewiston-Porter, and Wilson-- were all turned down, along with budgets in Clarence & Alden in Erie County, and Bemus Point in Chautauqua County.
All other districts in the region passed their budgets.
|Clarence||9.8 %||1.08 %||4,801||3.431|
|Niagara Wheatfield||5.91||3.69 %||1,601||1,598|
|Bemus Point||5.67 %||5.17 %||227||215|
|Lewiston Porter||5.52 %||-1.16 %*||1,153||939|
|Wilson||4 %||3.49 %||698||414|
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All the other budgets in WNY were either passed or defeated by simple majorities.
- Of the districts proposing WNY's top five tax hikes, only Hamburg' s budget-- with a 5.40 % hike and spending up 6.45%-- was approved.
- The majority of WNY's districts -88 out of 94 of them- approved budgets, with tax hikes ranging from 5.4 % in Hamburg to 1.01 in Springville-Griffith Institute .
- The average tax hike in the districts that said no to their budget proposals was 5.65 percent.
In Clarence, where anti-tax activists staged a vigorous campaign against the budget plan, turnout was up approx. 167 percent-- so substantial that there were approx. 100 voters in line when the polls closed at 9 pm. Overall 4,801 of the record 8,232 voters said no to the budget plan submitted by administrators. Usual turnout is closer to 3,000 voters.
Clarence increased spending over last year by 1.08 percent- an amount below the county average, and less than the increase proposed in all but 5 other districts in the county. Nonetheless, the Clarence proposal prompted campaigning usually reserved for far larger elections, with mailers, lawn signs and emotions running high across the entire town.
"I was elated. I think the residents of Clarence clearly stated enough was enough. It was an outrageous increase and the school district was arrogant enough to think that they could get away with it," said Ellie Corcoran, a Clarence resident who was active in the fight against the budget plan.
Clarence school board members will meet in the next few weeks to draft a smaller budget that will go before voters in mid June. They will need to cut $2.44 million to present a budget plan that is under the state's cap.
Districts that have their budgets rejected by voters in two consecutive votes, go to an automatic contingency plan.