Communities Rebel Against Cuomo’s Cap on Local Property Taxes; Madison’s Property Taxes Flat this year after a 9% increase in 2010

Thomas Kaplan

A much-heralded cap on property taxes championed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is encountering resistance as some communities across New York chafe at what amounts to a restriction on their spending and seek to exempt themselves from the new limits.
The communities, which include affluent New York City suburbs and rural communities near the border with Canada, are declaring that they cannot restrain the growth of property taxes and still comply with a variety of state-mandated programs and provide the services residents expect. And now dozens of town and county boards are overriding, or proposing to override, the cap.
“We should be able to dictate our own financial future,” said Lee V. A. Roberts, the supervisor in the Westchester County town of Bedford, where the Town Board has already voted to grant itself a waiver from the cap.
The Legislature approved the tax cap in late June, an effort to limit the annual growth of local property taxes to 2 percent or the rate of inflation. After that measure passed, Mr. Cuomo vowed that it would “provide much-needed relief” from rising taxes, and he was so proud of the law that he signed it six times, once in his office and five times on the front lawns of houses in high-tax communities.

The Madison School Board unanimously adopted the 2011-12 district budget and tax levy on Monday, saving the average Madison homeowner $2.74 over their 2010-11 property tax bill.
The $372 million budget requires the district to levy slightly more than $245 million in taxes, down 0.03 percent, or about $62,000, from last year’s levy.
The district gets more than $40 million in state funding and more than $10 million in federal funding. The rest of the budget gap is filled by student fees, special education funding and small-class-size funding, said Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Erik Kass.
Superintendent Dan Nerad’s $3.5 million spending recommendations were amended into the adopted budget, but Kass said $2.5 million of that amount was reallocated money that already was built into June’s preliminary budget.

Ally Boutelle:

Madison Metropolitan School District Superintendent Dan Nerad has proposed about $3.5 million in additional spending on top of the school district’s current budget for 2012.
MMSD spokesperson Ken Syke said about $2.5 million of that money will come from sources previously unaccounted for, but income taxes in the City of Madison may need to be upped to cover the remaining additions.
“$1.6 million of that [money] became available because of debt defeasance, and $937,000 of it is coming from revenue from a Medicaid time study,” he said.
In addition to the newly available $2.5 million, the district has introduced a recommendation for a total of $1,034,935 in additional funding for school maintenance programs, a statement issued by the district said.

Matthew DeFour:

The Madison School Board is considering about $3.5 million in additional spending proposals before it sets its 2011-12 budget and property tax levy Monday night.
The new spending proposed by Superintendent Dan Nerad would come on top of the $369 million budget approved in June.
For an average Madison home valued at $239,239, the new spending would mean $28.71 more than what the board approved in June, for a December bill of $2,665.12. The school tax bill on the average home still would decline $2.74.
Nerad proposed the new spending because of additional revenue identified by the district since the board voted in June. The net result of the new spending and revenue would be a property tax levy that is about the same as the 2010-11 school year.

Much more on the Madison School District’s 2011-2012 $372,000,000 budget, here.