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Nisky voters pin press box defeat on high taxes

When South Colonie Central School District residents went to the polls Thursday, Oct. 23, school district officials were not anticipating the rejection of a proposition to construct a new press box at the athletic field of Colonie Central High School or the near-rejection of a proposal to add seven new buses to the existing South Colonie bus fleet.

But in the aftermath, an analysis of the voting locations in which one proposal was shot down and another barely passed proved that the motivation behind voters' decisions most likely was their disappointment with their tax bills.

Residents voted in favor of the bus proposition by only 25 votes (893 votes yes, 868 no), that would come at a cost to Colonie homeowners of $0.025070 per $1,000 of assessed value. Niskayuna homeowners would be responsible for $0.016477 per $1,000 of assessed value.

The press box proposition would have come at no cost to taxpayers, but would have been funded through money saved for the project last year, and would have allowed the district to build a new press facility. The current facility, which houses the electricity for the scoreboard at athletic events, does not meet state safety regulations.

That proposition was voted down by 124 votes (805 yes, 929 no).

The Oct. 23 vote was the first district election to take place since taxpayers received their bills in September.

After the press box was rejected, Board of Education President Tim Ryan said the votes at the Veeder Elementary School polling area, a section of the district that borders the Town of Niskayuna, were 3-to-1 negative.

I think that those residents were expressing their frustrations with their [school tax bills], said Ryan.

James Feldman, a Niskayuna resident living in the South Colonie Central School District, said that Ryan's suspicions about the residents expressing frustration is most likely correct.

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