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Niskayuna residents get South Colonie school tax surprise

District officials did not promise Ambrose a recalculation, but they did tell him they understand the frustration surrounding the tax bill, but that the matter was out of their hands.

After the meeting, Superintendent of Schools Jonathan Buhner said, "It's one of those situations that people I know are certainly concerned, and we understand why they're concerned. What we're dong as a school district is run a fiscally responsible operation," he said. "We don't have any authority or power over this."

Residents are asking if the school district is not to blame, then who is?

According to district officials, several factors were involved in the increases for Niskayuna residents who pay South Colonie Central School District taxes.

One factor school officials are pointing to is the difference in assessment values between houses in the Town of Colonie and houses in the Town of Niskayuna.

While houses in Niskayuna are assessed at full value, according to Peter Gannon, director of operations for the Town of Colonie, houses in Colonie are only assessed at 67 percent of full value.

The costs of completing a townwide full assessment, according to Gannon, would be in the millions, an amount the town cannot afford.

"We're in a very tough situation," Gannon 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."

Feldman said this inequity in assessment could have a lot to do with the price of his tax bill.

Another factor that Feldman blames for the tax increase in school taxes is the amount of tax certiorari lawsuits won by businesses this year " amounting to $18 million.

According to Assistant Superintendent for Management Services Beverly Miller, when businesses win these certiorari lawsuits, the tax burden is shifted from non-homeowners to homeowners.

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