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Monday, May 17, 2010

Tax rate increases under proposed budget

Question: The budget newsletter states that for a MEDIAN tax payer who paid $920 in school taxes this year, they will see an increase of about $144 next year. Does that mean for some one like myself that paid $2500 in school taxes this year I will now pay around $2900 this year? In 2003, my school tax bill was about $1500. That looks like almost a 50% increase in my taxes in less than eight years. I've made no improvements and my assesment is the same! How about a simple formula for us to use, like you will see an increase in your school tax by "X" dollars per thousand in assesment. I realize this may be specific to the towns we reside in but it should be easy enough to figure and give us real numbers to analyze before we vote on the budget. If my calculations are correct, and if you reside in Perth as I do, you will see around a $21 per thousand in assessment increase with the proposed budget.

Answer: As much as we would like to give you a simple formula or "real" numbers as you asked for, unfortunately it's not that easy. The situation is especially complicated this year because the state has not adopted a budget and there are multiple proposals in Albany for various amounts of aid to schools: Gov. David Paterson proposed a 5% across-the-board cut in foundation aid to schools (a proposal that State Senate Democrats support), while the State Assembly Democrats support reinstating $600 million of foundation aid from what Gov. Paterson proposed. Until a state budget is adopted, which might not be until July, we're forced to work with worst-case scenario numbers -- in this case, Gov. Paterson's proposed budget, which calls for a loss of $1.744 million in foundation aid for Broadalbin-Perth. If some or all of this foundation aid is restored, the Board of Education can choose to use some or all of the restored aid to offset the local tax levy -- thus making your tax increase for next year much less than your calculations indicate. However, if the cuts proposed by Gov. Paterson stand, then Broadalbin-Perth's tax levy could increase as much as 14%.

Another thing to keep in mind is that, even in years that the state budget is on time, it's difficult for Broadalbin-Perth to project a true-value tax rate in late April. Broadalbin-Perth serves parts of nine different towns, each with its own assessor and therefore its own equalization rate. Equalization rates are not finalized by the state Office of Real Property Services (ORPS) until the summer months, and so any true-value tax rate that Broadalbin-Perth provides before that time is only an estimate.

According to our current estimations, because of projected changes in equalization rates, residents in the Town of Perth should see the smallest tax increase of all of the towns in our school district, at around 9%. Therefore, you can expect your taxes to go up an estimated $2.24 per assessed thousand.

If you -- or any other resident -- has questions about your taxes or projected changes to your taxes under the proposed budget, feel free to call my office at 954-2500 or stop by the district offices at 20 Pine Street and I would be happy to go over them with you.
- answered by Marco Zumbolo, Assistant Superintendent for Business and Operations

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