South Colonie voters OK buses, reject press box

The district will receive an estimated $25,000 trade-in value on the buses that are currently owned by the district but will be taken out of service.

Officials said the district will be eligible to receive state aid that would be borrowed over a five-year period for up to 55 percent of the purchase, which would bring the district's net cost down to $317,396. For homeowners in the South Colonie Central School District, the tax impact will be as follows (per $1,000 of assessed value): Colonie homestead, $0.025070; Niskayuna homestead, $0.016477; Guilderland homestead, $0.020321; Colonie non-homestead, $0.028384; Niskayuna non-homestead, $0.018934; and Guilderland non-homestead, $0.023780.

As for the rejection of the press box, district officials had originally managed to extend their ability to use the box until Nov. 22, after state officials informed the district that the press box was not up-to-date with fire regulations and standards. However, after that date, use of the press box will be strictly prohibited.

The new press box would have cost about $149,000.

According to Noetzel, the district had set aside funds that would pay for the press box during last year's budget, however, he said, the construction of the new press box needed to come to a public vote due to state regulations about new construction.

Noetzel also said the district could have chosen to refurbish the current building, but from a cost-savings perspective, had decided to move forward with plans for a total reconstruction. Now that the vote has failed, Noetzel said the district will continue to pursue that, and other options.

"It's not the end of the world," said Ryan. "We're disappointed. I think, in retrospect, there were probably a couple of things that could have been done differently."

Ryan said the district could have made it more clear to the public that construction of the press box would have been an unfunded mandate by the state and that the state was shutting down, what he called, "a perfectly useable building."

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