Voorheesville’s $34.5 million budget passes with ease, incumbent board member Kremer ousted

The Enterprise — Melissa Hale-Spencer
Voters wait to cast their ballots in the Voorheesville elections on Tuesday at about 6 p.m.

NEW SCOTLAND — Challengers Kathy Fiero and Matthew Bergeron easily won four-year terms as members of the Voorheesville School Board on Tuesday, which also saw the district’s proposed $34.5 million budget for next year pass with 77 percent of the vote. 

Incumbent Timothy Kremer was the night’s lowest vote-getter, with 323 ballots cast in his favor, while Fiero nearly doubled Kremer’s count, receiving 643 votes, and Bergerson also far outpaced Kremer with 550 votes. 

The $34.5 million school budget for 2024-25 passed 668 votes to 199. 

Voters, by a 690-to-172 margin, also approved the purchase of two buses for next year, at a cost of $350,000. 

With the budget’s passage, property owners in the Voorheesville School District will see their taxes increase by 3.75 percent, according to the district itself. This year, New Scotland, Guilderland, and Berne property owners in the district pay a true or full value rate of $15.37 per $1,000 assessed value. 

Also passing with ease on Tuesday was the Voorheesville Public Library’s $1.35 million budget for next year, which voters approved 692 to 171. Laura Lamberton, who was uncontested in her bid for five-year term as library trustee, received 644 votes.

Library taxes for property owners in the towns of New Scotland, Guilderland, and Berne will increase between about 2.7 percent and 3.2 percent next year, depending on the municipality. 

New Scotland residents’ tax rate will increase from $1.28 per $1,000 of assessed value to $1.32; in Guilderland, the rate will go from $1.12 to $1.15 per $1,000; and in Berne, residents’ tax rate will increase from $2.21 to $2.28 per $1,000 of assessed home value, according to the library.

Also according to the library, a home in the district with an assessed value of $300,000 will pay about $12 more in property taxes next year if it’s located in New Scotland; $9 more in Guilderland; and $21 more in Berne. Berne has not undergone a town-wide property revaluation in decades so the state-set equalization rate accounts for that.

Fiero, a retired teacher and former union president, attributed her win to relationships, “built over a lot of years, and not burning bridges. And what this just showed me is that’s what it's all about.”

Those relationships were quantifiable as Fiero’s signs dotted the front yards of dozens, if not hundreds of school district homes. Fiero said she had some 50 people reach out to her looking to place signs on their property — a somewhat irregular occurrence, as candidates are typically the ones making the ask. 

Fiero and Bergeron ran as a team.

Bergeron said he was very thankful to the voters for the faith they showed him, and that he’s “looking forward to getting to work.” Asked about what he attributed his and Fiero’s sizable win over Kremer, Bergeron said it was voter interaction. “We were very active in talking to voters,” he said. 

Bergeron, a lawyer for New York State United Teachers, and Fiero, a former Voorheesville teachers union president, had the backing of the Voorheesville Teachers Association, an endorsement that came with mailers to district residents and a cadre of door-knockers.

Kremer, who served on the board since 2020, is retired from being director of the New York State School Boards Association; he was not available for comment. 

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