Mayor Kris Kastberg faced a chilly reception when he asked the Scotia-Glenville Board of Education to forgive a tax the village pays on a water well situated on district property on Vley Road. However, some board members indicated they would consider the proposal in the future.
I understand that this is the worst possible time for us to ask for this exemption, but we are all struggling with our budgets, and every place where we can help save matters, said Kastberg at the board's Monday, March 9, meeting.
Last month village clerk Maria Schmidt discovered the tax is not mandatory, but to see the savings, the school district would have to agree to not collect it. With looming school budget cuts, the district said it is not ready to hand over the $53,000 of tax revenue it now receives.
Board members John Yaglieski, Gary Normington, Pam Carbone and Colleen Benedetto said they would consider a system where the exemption is phased in over time.
"Transitioning in the change over time would be easier on our budget," said Yaglieski.
Yaglieski added that allowing the village an exemption is a good example of different parts of the community working together.
"It comes down to being as fair as possible," said Yaglieski. "I want to show that we respect the village and town and that we can all work together."
Board member Ben Conlon questioned whether it was in the best interest of the school district to forgive the tax at all. He said similar situations have come up in the past, and the board has historically denied them.
"We already pay a water tax; the whole argument is circular," said Conlon.
Kastberg told the board that relieving the village of the tax could help keep water rates at their current level. It would not lower the rate because the amount saved could not be transferred from the water budget into the village fund balance, according to Kastberg.