District Revises Tax Cap Calculation
March 22, 2017
In early March, Queensbury Union Free School District received new financial information that changed the district's tax cap calculation from a negative number to a positive number. Assistant Superintendent for Business Scott Whittemore shared details on the change during a Queensbury Board of Education budget presentation on Monday, March 13.
New York places restrictions on how school districts may increase their tax levies. It requires at least 60 percent voter approval for a school budget if the proposed tax levy increase exceeds a threshold or "tax cap" that is unique to each district and calculated using a state formula. Queensbury previously anticipated a negative tax cap, based on financial data available in February.
In March, updated information on spending and revenue trends allowed the district to adjust its plans for the use of debt service funds and for payments on capital projects. For taxpayers, the revision means lower total interest costs for capital project work. For Queensbury, the revision means more exclusions in the district's tax cap calculation. The result is a revised cap for the district of a 2.97 percent increase in the tax levy, Whittemore explained during his presentation.
"The changes in the budget have given us a better opportunity to plan for the district's long-term future," he told board members during the budget presentation (PDF). "The state understands that school districts are still developing their budgets and they're not finished by March 1, so they give districts until April 24, which is the date that the property tax report card is due, to submit a finalized tax cap calculation."
While the district's tax cap has changed, the tax levy increase under consideration for next year has not changed. At a 2.89 percent increase, it falls below the revised tax cap.
The Board of Education is still developing its 2017-18 school budget proposal and has until Monday, April 24, to formally adopt a proposal. Voters will then cast their ballot on Tuesday, May 16, from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Queensbury Elementary School Gymnasium, 431 Aviation Rd.
Watch the video of Whittemore's budget presentation below or visit the budget website to learn more.