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District sets 2009 tax rates
Release Date: August 13, 2009
At its meeting on August 12, the Board of Education adopted tax rates for 2009.
Using final assessment figures provided by the towns of Bethlehem and New Scotland and final equalization rates set by the state this summer, this year’s tax rates are: $19.10 per $1,000 of assessed property value in Bethlehem and $18.90 per $1,000 of assessed value in New Scotland.
These rates resulted in tax rate increases of 1.76 percent in Bethlehem and 2.37 percent in New Scotland. The district projected a 1.76 percent tax rate for district property owners in both municipalities at the time of the May budget vote.
Each year, the New York State Office of Real Property Services sets what are known as equalization rates to make sure the tax levy is fairly distributed between a taxing entities’ communities, which may use different assessment practices. This year, the state’s final equalization rates for Bethlehem and New Scotland resulted in a slight shift in the apportionment of the district’s total tax levy between the two communities compared to earlier projections.
In addition, changes to final assessment figures, often the result of successful property assessment challenges, also affect the final rates.
Not accounting for the state’s STAR program, in Bethlehem, the owner of a property assessed at $250,000 will see a school tax increase under the final rates of about $83, exactly what was projected this spring. In New Scotland, the owner of a property assessed at $250,000 would see a tax increase of $109, or about $28 more than had been projected.
On May 19, nearly two-thirds of BC voters approved an $87.56 million budget for 2009-10 that carried with it the lowest spending increase in the district in 26 years. The budget was the result of a months-long process that incorporated substantial community input. The tax levy increase was limited to 2 percent.
The district also wants to make sure residents are aware of a change to the New York State STAR program this year that resulted in lower exemption amounts for Bethlehem and New Scotland. See the sidebar at the top right-hand side of this article for details.
In addition, the STAR Middle Class Rebate Program has been discontinued, meaning that property owners should not expect to see a rebate check from the state this fall as they have the last two years.
Tax bills will be mailed around September 1. They are due by September 30 without penalty.