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Letter: Get the Facts on School Taxes

From The Manhasset Board of Education - Regina Rule, Carlo Prinzo, Pat Aitken, Craig Anderson, Ann Marie Curd

When asked about the increase in school tax rates, Nassau County Acting Assessor James Davis recently stated, “School spending is out of control and that’s why taxes are going up.” Facts do not support that statement. Here in Manhasset, spending, typically referred to as the budget, will decrease by 1% for the 2013-14 school year. This school year’s budget is nearly $1 million lower than last year’s budget. School spending is under control.

Spending is decreasing, yet the voter-approved tax levy for the 2013-14 budget is $79,341,951, a 1.97% increase. The tax levy increase makes up for a shortfall in revenue from other sources, namely reserves. By law, each school district relies on Nassau County to collect the voter approved tax levy. In Manhasset’s case, the district will receive the approved 1.97% increase in tax levy revenue, a total of $79,341,951 and not a dollar more. If Manhasset voters approved a tax levy increase of 1.97%, why then are Manhasset homeowners seeing their tax bills increase more than that 1.97%? That answer lies with the Nassau County Assessor who is responsible for allocating Manhasset’s total tax levy of $79,341,951 among each of the property taxpayers in the district: individual homeowners, businesses, condominiums and utilities.

Also note that the County Assessor is additionally responsible for handling the tax grievance process. News reports state that 87% of tax grievances filed were granted. Why so many? Questions on the tax assessment, allocation and grievance processes must be directed to the County Assessor’s Office; they are beyond the legal responsibility of the school district. School spending is well under control in Manhasset. More importantly, school spending is controlled by what the Manhasset community wants for its schools.

 

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