Last night (Tuesday, Sept. 16) at a regular Board of Education meeting of the South Colonie Central School District, one man spoke on behalf of many Niskayuna residents whose jaws dropped when they received their school tax bills last week.
Jim Ambrose, of Stafford Lane, in Niskayuna, told members of the board, \I don't think we're getting a real fair shake of what the tax breaks are.
Ambrose said he did not think it was all the school's issue but that the Town of Colonie was pointing the finger at them, and all he was asking was that the district re-calculate the figures that were used to determine the amount homeowners would have to pay in their taxes.
Director of Town Operations for the Town of Colonie Peter Gannon said the high taxes for Niskayuna homeowners in the South Colonie Central School District are a result of the Town of Niskayuna completing a full evaluation assessment while the Town of Colonie is only assessed at 67 percent full value.
Last month, Gannon said, the Town of Colonie was only assessed at 61 percent full value, and while they are working toward a full assessment, the town does not have the money to do it all right now. "We're in a very tough situation," he said. "We're not in any position to go out and do a full reassessment at this point. It's something we just don't have the resources for."
According to Ambrose, his school taxes are up $1,100 since last year.
Responding to Ambrose's comments, William Ryan, the district's attorney, told Ambrose, "Nothing can be done this year. The die have been cast."
Ryan explained that a bulk of the tax burden has fallen on homeowners as a result of businesses winning tax certiorari lawsuits and that someone had to make up that difference and that someone was the homeowners. But Ambrose said while business owners have people to stand behind them and defend them when it comes to taxes, "as a homeowner, I've really got no one backing me."
The school district at this point has made no promises to levy the taxes, which Gannon said may not even be constitutional to do. Several residents plan to meet later today to further discuss the issue.
For more on this story, check back at www.spotlightnews.com, or read the Sept. 24 print edition of the Colonie Spotlight.