Friday, September 7, 2012

What Did Happen to the Potsdam School Tax Rate?

In late July, I wrote that I was waiting to find out what the Potsdam School District was planning to do with the extra funds left over from the 2011-12 school budget.  Specifically, I was wondering if the school board would discuss using the funds to lower the tax rate.  Apparently, it never came up. Why not?  They didn't have to because, even though the total levy increased 2.9%, for most residents the increase in the tax rate was only 1.5%.  What a pleasant surprise!  Did I mention I love surprises?

I have reviewed the school tax analysis and don't quite understand why the tax rate increased so little.  A link to the analysis document is below.  Perhaps the $5 million dollar increase in the assessed property values explains it all.  But wouldn't school district officials have been aware of that increase as the budget was being put together, at least tentatively?  Perhaps that was why there were attempts to have the tax levy increase be even greater than the final 2.9%.

Of course, the news wasn't good for everyone in the school district.  Town of Stockholm residents of the school district saw a tax rate increase of almost 5%.  The primary reason appears to be the decrease in the equalization rate for the town from 95% to 92%.

And what happens to the extra money left over from last year's budget?  It will either go into the undesignated fund balance or "hidden" in reserves.  We will have to wait for the public audit report before there is an answer to that question.

School Tax Analysis 2011-12 to 2012-13

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