VESTAL, NY (WSKG) – More than a week after voters rejected the budget for the Owego Apalachin school district, the board of education has decided to hold a re-vote on a lower tax levy.
The school board decided to hold a re-vote on a property tax levy of 2.83 percent. That’s one percent lower than the 3.83 percent in first proposed budget, which was voted down earlier May 21.
Supporters blame false claims in a local paper and on social media. As a result, they say residents were led to believe the proposal exceeded the state’s property tax cap; it does not. “We did not exceed the tax cap,” said Superintendent Corey Green. “But I think there’s some clarification issues around that.”
According to the New York Comptroller’s office, school districts generally can raise the property taxes by two percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower. But, as the school notes on its website, that’s is just one part of the formula used to get the final number.
Because of the misinformation, Superintendent Green said the board did consider a revote on the original property tax levy, but rejected that idea. “I think ultimately, what came out of the conversation is the board felt to respect the voters that did come out and vote,” Green said. “They showed their voice and it’s important that we hear their voice.”
The 1% drop ends up being about $173,000 in cuts to the budget. Green doesn’t know where the cuts will be. He hopes to stay away from any program or staff reductions.
If voters also say “no” to this plan, Green said the district would be forced to use adopt a smaller budget, which includes about $654,316 in cuts.