Change in state-set equalization rates increases taxes for Guilderland residents in Voorheesville School District

To the Editor:

I am writing to address the Voorheesville School District taxpayers.

At the Aug. 14, regular meeting, the board of education approved the tax warrant for the 2017-18 school year. While the permissible tax levy limit for the district for 2017-18 was 2.36 percent, the tax warrant was limited to a 2.00 — percent tax-levy increase, the level proposed by the board and approved by the district’s voters at the budget vote on May 16.

Due to a significant drop in the equalization rate for the town of Guilderland from 0.88 in 2016-17 to 0.75 in 2017-18, which was finalized by the New York State Office of Real Property Tax Services Board on Aug. 23, the proportionate share of the total tax levy to be paid by Guilderland property owners in the district rose from 22.5 percent in 2016-17 to 24.8 percent in 2017-18.

The resulting tax rates and share of the total tax levy for property owners in each town in the Voorheesville School District are as follows:

— New Scotland residents in the Voorheesville School District pay 73.9 percent of the levy; the tax rate there decreased 2.03 percent;

— Guilderland residents in the Voorheesville School District pay 24.8 percent of the levy; the tax rate there increased 11.78 percent; and

— Berne residents in the Voorheesville School District pay 1.3 percent of the levy; the tax rate there decreased 3.99 percent.

The equalization rate measures the relationship between the assessed value and the market value of properties within a town. When the equalization rate declines, it generally means that the overall market value of properties in a town has increased in relation to assessed values. When a town has a major shift in equalization rates, it results in redistribution of the tax share among the towns within the school district.

It is important to understand that New York State sets the equalization rates for each town, not the school district. School districts have no legal authority to modify state equalization rates, assessments, or tax-rate calculations.

We do, however, want to provide this information to you concerning the basis for your tax payment. For this year, even though the Voorheesville School District limited its total tax levy increase to 2.00 percent, town of Guilderland property owners will absorb a larger share of the tax levy due to the drop in the equalization rate identified above.

Should you need additional information, please contact the Voorheesville School District Office at (518) 765-3313.

Brian Hunt, superintendent

Francis Rielly

Assistant Superintendent for Business

Voorheesville Central School District

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