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Nisky voters pin press box defeat on high taxes

Feldman and his wife, Cheri, were faced with a tax bill this year that was more than $1,000 higher than last year's, after Board of Education members decided on a 5.92 percent tax increase, or $22.62 per $1,000 of assessed value for homeowners, and $25.61 per $1,000 of assessed value for commercial property owners.

Last year's tax rate was $21.36 per $1,000 of assessed value for homeowners.

Assistant Superintendent for Management Services Beverly Miller said the district was forced to come up with the 5.92 percent tax increase as a result of many tax certiorari lawsuits being won by businesses within the district.

When this happens, a bulk of the tax burden is shifted from businesses to homeowners.

Another cause of the high tax bills was the difference in assessments of homes in Niskayuna versus the assessments of homes in the Town of Colonie. As of this year, homes in Niskayuna are assessed at full value, whereas in the Town of Colonie, a townwide assessment has not been completed in several years, and homes are only assessed at 67 percent of full value.

The result of these factors was higher tax bills and several upset residents.

"I really think the vote just reflects that there is a segment of the population that's disgruntled with the current situation," said Feldman.

Feldman, who voted against both propositions, said that he did not merely vote against the propositions because he sought revenge on the district that told his family, and others, that there was nothing they could do about their tax bills, but that he did not feel either proposition reflected something that was necessary.

Vice President of the Board of Education Brian Casey labeled the close-call of the bus vote "scary" and said that the bus proposition is a safety measure the district takes every year to retire the buses that no longer meet safety standards.

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