Last night (Monday, August 4), at a Budget Committee Meeting of the North Colonie Central School District, the board took a straw vote to agree on a 3.76 percent tax increase for homeowners.
The increase, which was one of three options presented to the board, represented the lowest tax levy possible, and the closest figure to what district officials promised the public when they went to the polls to vote on the budget on Tuesday, May 20.
According to the option board members chose, the district's estimate for state aid would increase by $180,000 and the use of fund balance would increase by $900,000, therefore reducing the tax increase by approximately $1,080,000, and reducing the tax rates for homeowners and commercial property owners alike.
The district had originally hoped to have home-rule legislation adopted which they sent to the New York State Legislature to be passed that would limit base proportion shifts to one percent, but as of last night (Monday, August 4), Assistant Superintendent for Business Tom Rybaltowski said it had not passed through the Legislature and been signed by the governor. This legislation would have affected homestead tax rates in a positive manner.
Rybaltowski said the district had been petitioning the one percent base cap, but that there was a timing problem since the Town of Colonie has to be notified of the district's rate by August 20. \[There's] not a lot of hope here, he said.
All members of the board voted in favor of the 3.76 percent tax increase, on the premise that the one percent base cap would not be moving forward in the legislature, except Sandy Pangburn, who was physically absent from the meeting, though she listened in via telephone.
Superintendent of Schools Randy Ehrenberg expressed that she was pleased with the 3.76 percent tax increase, as it is what the district had promised voters. The North Colonie Central School District will vote on the 3.76 percent tax increase at its next meeting on Monday, August 25 to make it official.
For more on this story, check back at www.spotlightnews.com, or read the August 13 print edition of the Colonie Spotlight.""