Property Tax Reform Task Force

Press Release
January 26, 2010
Property Tax Reform Task Force (Member of the NYS Property Tax Reform Coalition)

The Four Towns of the Rondout Valley School District Are Nearly $5,000,000 Behind in School Tax Collection

(Marbletown, NY) Tonight, Tuesday, January 26th, at 7:30 pm, the Rondout Valley School District will meet at the District Office building on the 122 Kyserike Road campus in Accord.

Following the work meeting part of the agenda, the Board will open the floor to public comment.

Vaughan Smith, business owner, former teacher (though not in RVSD) and resident of High Falls will ask the Board to acknowledge and address the imbalance between its budget and the shortfall in Rondout Valley tax receipts. He and other community members will ask the school board to rein in spending, hold the line on salary increases and push the teachers’ union to support spending and property tax
reform.

After consulting with town property assessors and county officials, Smith uncovered these distressing facts:

• Rondout Valley is #1 out of 692 school districts in NY in the
number of residents failing to pay their property taxes.

• The four towns of the Rondout Valley School District are $4,985,544 behind in school tax collection: 18% of Marbletown school taxes are unpaid; 29% in Rochester, 43.5% in Wawarsing, and 9.5% in Rosendale.

• Town residents are assessed some of the highest property taxes in the nation. Families report paying up to 48% of their income in property taxes. With the inability to pay property taxes, Ulster County has a high rate of residential foreclosure rate.

• Studies commissioned by the RVSD project a 30% decline in high school enrollment and 10% decline across the district from 2008 through 2015. With the decline in enrollment, jobs and population, sales tax receipts have dropped precipitously in the county leaving property taxpayers to cover more than their share of school and municipal taxes.

• The school district has an $8.5 million surplus, or 25% of the
2008-2009 tax levied on the district, according to the office of the NYS Comptroller, almost 3 times the amount allowed by the NYS Department of Education.

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