North Colonie school district presents budget

The North Colonie Central School District this week announced the proposal of an $89.2 million budget for the upcoming school year.

The proposed tax levy for the 2009-2010 budget would result in an estimated 4.6 percent increase.

The budget was first brought before the public on Monday, March 2, when the Board of Education presented an overview that stated the budget reflects only a few minor cuts through attrition, savings made possible through this year's annexation of the Maplewood School District and a plan for the district to move toward a one-tier tax rate.

Speaking about the one-tier tax system, Superintendent of Schools Randy Ehrenberg said before Monday's meeting that she hopes the board will approve it when adopting the proposed budget.

Being able to do this makes very good sense, said Ehrenberg.

The advantages of moving from the district's current two-tier tax rate to a one-tier system are great, Ehrenberg said. For one, residential property owners would see a smaller rate increase than commercial property owners, as the gap between the two rates would be eliminated. Another benefit of moving to a one-tier tax rate is that it is easier to explain the tax rate to the public, as there is only one rate and one percentage of increase to explain.

Board of Education President Joan Hart said the district has had the two-tier tax rate for 10 years, and has been "working at all angles" to provide a break for residential taxpayers in the district.

The one potential disadvantage of moving to a one-tier tax rate is that if the district chooses to go back to a two-tier tax rate, the process becomes difficult, and would essentially only be possible should the Town of Colonie undergo a complete reassessment of all the properties in the town -- something town officials have indicated is not being planned in the near future.

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