The Levittown Property Owners Association (LPOA) met on March 11, with Vice President Andy Booth presiding in the absence of President Jim Morrow. The guest speaker for the meeting was Levittown School Superintendent Dr. Herman A. Sirois, who was accompanied by Mark Schissler, acting assistant superintendent for business.
The members were pleased to have Town Councilman Gary Hudes present, because he provided information and answered many questions directed to him. Councilman Hudes takes individual complaints at the meetings and at his office. He advised people to call his office at 812-3286 and give their name, address and phone number. Their complaint or request for information will be directed to the building or needed department with only the councilman's name (not the caller's). "My office will not give out your name," he stated. He talked with several members on individual problems before the meeting began.
Dr. Sirois has advised the LPOA on numerous occasions, usually when the school budget is being worked on for the next school year. Planning with the Board of Education is presently ongoing, but he and the acting assistant superintendent for business were anxious to assure the members that the $2.6 million overspent in last year's budget would not result in tax increases because money from the school district's reserve funds was used to rectify the errors.
The state comptroller's office made suggestions and worked with the district after an audit was requested by the district last summer. "The proposed budget plan corrects earlier errors at no additional tax increase and the reserves will be returned. The errors are now being reviewed to identify how mistakes were made and measures are being taken to correct them. The errors were not systemic but isolated to one individual," said Dr. Sirois.
The superintendent fielded numerous questions from the audience, two of whose members had previously served on the Board of Education. To a question about Sirois' "low tax" claim, he responded that he "Can't do anything about our tax rate, but that we have a lower tax increase than the county average." He was asked about replacement of the reserve funds, non-instructional expenses, the return of Seaman Neck School (used now by BOCES) to Levittown's district and steadily rising school taxes. Very little was mentioned about the budget planning now being worked on for next year.
The main reason for this meeting seemed to be to re-assure residents that the previous year's overspending had been corrected by using money from the reserve funds; the corrections made would not cause increased school taxes.
The LPOA was recently notified that the Board of Zoning Appeals had upheld Levittown's unique zoning ordinance, the LPRD (Levittown Planned Residence District), in its denial of a variance application to sub-divide an oversized lot. The ordinance states only one house can be located on a lot in Levittown. Neighbors and the LPOA had requested that the board deny the variance and uphold the LPRD.
The next meeting of the LPOA will be April 8, 7:30 p.m. at the Levittown Memorial Education Center.