Niskayuna residents get South Colonie school tax surprise

Last weekend the temperature wasn't the only thing dropping; several Niskayuna residents' jaws hit the floor when they opened their South Colonie Central School District tax bills.

Jim and Cheri Feldman of Niskayuna said they did not immediately open the envelope that contained their school tax bills because, Jim said, he was fairly confident he knew what he would see. Then a friend of his called and said, Jim, have you looked at your tax bills?

Feldman said he was expecting to see a four as the first number of his bill. He did see a four " two numbers in. His tax bill said that he owed $5,244, a difference of about $1,278 from last year's bill of $3,966.

"I expected an increase based upon school taxes to be $500 to $600," Feldman said. "I never anticipated it to be an amount so much larger."

Feldman is not the only one.

At the Tuesday, Sept. 16, Board of Education meeting in the South Colonie Central School District, Jim Ambrose of Stafford Lane, Niskayuna, spoke on behalf of what he said were hundreds of angry Niskayuna residents who feel this year's school tax bills are unfair.

"I don't think we're getting a real fair shake of what the tax breaks are," Ambrose told the board.

The tax rate, which was finalized last month by board members, is a 5.92 percent increase, equaling $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 and $28.48 per $1,000 for commercial property owners.

In May, voters approved a budget of $88.2 million, which at that time was expected to result in an estimated 3.92 percent increase.

Ambrose said he did not think the jump in taxes was all the district's fault " he said the Town of Colonie was pointing fingers -- he did ask the district to recalculate the figures.

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