BALLSTON SPA – The Ballston Spa Central School District Board of Education adopted the tax rates for the 2017-18 school year on Wednesday under which residents will see a slight decrease in their rate despite the 2.9 percent tax levy increase approved by voters in May.
The new equalized school tax rate for homeowners in Ballston will be $18.58 per $1,000 of assessed property value. In Charlton the rate will be $24.73 per $1,000 of assessed value, in Malta it will be $17. 31 and in Milton the rate will be $18.81.
The new school tax rates will represent a decrease from the 2016-17 rates with Ballston seeing a $.22 or 1.17 percent decrease in rates this year. Rates for Charlton will decrease by $.39 or 1.55 percent, Malta will decrease by $.77 or 4.26 percent and Milton will decrease by $.02 or 0.1 percent.
The district’s $90.34 million 2017-18 school budget features a total tax levy of $49.07 million, an increase of 2.1 over the previous year’s budget and a tax levy increase of 2.9 percent. District officials had predicted that the tax levy increase would result in an average school tax rate increase of 0.6 percent for homeowners.
“We predicted rates would only go up slightly this year. We’re always conservative when developing the budget, because we don’t know what the tax rolls are,” BSCSD Superintendent Joseph Dragone said. “That’s just the way the budget cycle works for all school districts.”
Dragone warned the school board once again of the continued depreciation in property value for the GlobalFoundries chip plant and the impact it will have on future school budgets as the district continues to see a loss in revenue from the PILOT agreement with the company.
“We have done very well managing this, but it doesn’t get any easier. Again, this year was over $800,000 in cost to us, we have been able to manage over time, but it gets more difficult over time as well,” Dragone said.
The GlobalFoundries plant has lost value year over year and is expected to fall to an estimated value of $596.25 in 2018, a $35.08 million loss in assessed property value from when it was first constructed. The property is projected to continue to lose value until 2031, when it is expected to reach a final assessed property value of $165.62 million.
“Every time you lower your tax base you end up paying more in taxes, there is less to generate revenue,” Dragone said.
The Board of Education authorized the collection of school taxes from Sept. 5 through Nov. 3. A tax penalty will take effect after 30 days of delinquency when a 2 percent interest rate will be applied to outstanding payments.