CRARYVILLE–Taxpayers in the Taconic Hills Central School District will get a little extra help paying property taxes over the next decade following a decision by the school board January 20 to establish the Tax Reduction Reserve Fund effective immediately.
Exactly how the fund will impact district taxpayers is not yet known. Schools Superintendent Neil Howard, contacted after the meeting, said by email, “We are in the early stages of budget planning and cannot comment at this time about how much reserve funding may be needed to balance the budget.”
The state property tax cap will limit school district tax levies to an increase of no more than 1/10 of a percent in the upcoming school year. “Taconic Hills has levied a zero percent tax levy [increase] for the past two fiscal years,” Dr. Howard said in his email.
The money for the Tax Reduction Reserve Fund comes from the closing of another reserve fund, called the Debt Service Reserve Fund. The Debt Service Fund was created as required by law after district voters approved spending on a $15-million facilities upgrade project in 2009. That work has been completed and the resolution creating the new fund says, “all outstanding obligations have been repaid.”
The amount in the old Debt Service Reserve Fund account was $981, 177.77. The board resolution passed last week designates $461,244.79 plus interest from the total for property tax relief. The remainder, $519,932.92 plus interest, will be transferred to the district’s Capital Fund.
In other business the board is considering changes to its field trip and extra curricula trips policy as well as policy regarding student eligibility to participate in extra curricula activities. There will be a public policy meeting to discuss the proposed changes February 8 at 6 p.m.
At December’s meeting the board approved five new high school electives: History of the World Through Art I and II, Equine Management, Athletic Performance, French Enthusiasts and Linguistics, and Portfolio Preparation II. Students had requested the advanced courses, which will be offered in the 2016-17 school year.
History of the World Through Art I and II will meet on the Columbia-Greene Community College campus. Equine Management dovetails with the existing agriculture curriculum. Portfolio Prep II is designed to help art students satisfy college entrance requirements more proficiently. French Enthusiasts and Linguistics expands foreign language options for 7th graders. Athletic Performance enables athletes to pursue lifetime learning on physical fitness.