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South Colonie Central School District News

South Colonie 2016-17 Tax Levy Increase Lower Than Expected

The South Colonie Board of Education Tuesday night approved a 0.51 percent tax levy increase for the 2016-17 school year, which is less than half of what was proposed in this year’s school budget approved by district voters in May.

The district had proposed a tax levy of $70,860,000 (a 1.17 percent increase) to help fund education. The actual tax levy will now be $70,400,000 or $460,000 less than proposed in the budget. The district state tax levy limitation was 1.18 percent for 2016-17.

click here to view a letter to Niskayuna property owners (pdf)

The district’s new tax rates per $1,000 of assessed value are as follows: Town of Colonie ($27.14 per $1,000), Town of Guilderland ($20.84), Town of Niskayuna ($18.34). The tax rate per $1,000 will increase 0.05 percent for Colonie residents. Guilderland residents will experience a marginal decline of 0.25 percent in the tax rate. Due to a significant drop in the 2016 equalization rate for the Town of Niskayuna, the tax rate for Niskayuna residents will increase by 6.62 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 has increased in relation to the assessed value. When one or more towns has a major shift in equalization rates, it results in redistribution of the tax share among the towns within a school district.

The Town of Niskayuna equalization rate dropped from 106.89 percent in 2015 to 100 percent for 2016. This sharp decline in the equalization rate results in the redistribution of the tax levy in South Colonie, with Town of Niskayuna residents taking on a larger share of the total tax.

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 the tax rate calculation. While South Colonie’s overall school tax levy for the 2016-17 year will increase by 0.51 percent (less than 1 percent), Niskayuna residents will absorb a larger share of the total tax levy, making their tax rate increase larger than the other two towns.