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Menands residents upset after Colonie moves to one-tier tax system

Menands residents who pay Menands Union Free School District taxes could be faced with school taxes 8 percent higher or more after the Colonie Town Board passed a resolution unanimously on Thursday, Nov. 5, to move from a two-tier to a one-tier tax rate system in the town.

Under the two-tier system, residential property owners and commercial property owners pay a separate tax rate. In recent years, a base proportion shift based on home assessments has forced residential property owners to pay higher taxes than commercial property owners.

Since the Village of Menands is a hamlet of the Town of Colonie, Menands residents pay Colonie taxes.

Colonie Town Assessor Ron Monfils explained to the Town Board and residents that if the town did not move to a one-tier system, which would have both residential and commercial property owners paying $2.80 per thousand of assessed value under the 2010 budget, property taxes would increase in 2010 by between 4 and 5 percent.

The North Colonie Central School District moved to a one-tier system last year, and, according to Town Supervisor Paula Mahan, the South Colonie Central School District has indicated its plans to also move to a one-tier system. Mahan said that while the school districts can move to a one-tier system without the town doing so, once the town moves to a one-tier system the school districts must also.

While the one-tier system may not benefit Menands residents who pay taxes in the Union Free school district, Mahan argued that it would benefit the majority of Colonie residents by keeping their property taxes lower than they would be under the two-tier system, which Monfils said promises to raise the taxes at a 4 to 5 percent increase every year.

If we don't make this move to the single-rate, it's going to be detrimental to all the residents of the town, Mahan said.

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