KINDERHOOK–Some residents in the Ichabod Crane School District should be getting a refund check from the state soon thanks to the decision by school board and district voters to keep the tax levy increase under 2%. School Business Administrator Michael Brennan announced the refund, called the state Property Tax Freeze Credit, to a packed house at Tuesday night’s school board meeting.
He also said that to get the credit again next year, the district must show efficiencies of 1% or about $217,000. “They’ve been vague about what would qualify,” said Mr. Brennan at the October 7 meeting, referring to what the state would consider efficiencies. He said the definition can include actions the district has taken over the last three years, which could include the closing two schools buildings due to declining enrollment, and combining bus runs a few years ago.
Mr. Brennan stressed that credit was for property owners eligible for the STAR tax reduction program and that not every taxpayer in the district will receive a check. He said did not have an exact date when the checks will be in the mail but that it would be soon.
This week the board also discussed the annual audit, conducted by West and Company. Once again the district received an “unqualified opinion,” which means the district’s financial statements are sound. The one area that was flagged again this year in the audit was the deficit in the food service budget.
Amy Cecila, the representative from the West and Company, told the board that the district was not alone in having deficit in its food service budget. “There are very few districts where that fund is maintained on its own,” she said.
Board member John Chandler, who sits on the board’s Audit and Finance Committee, said that Mr. Brennan had come up with a plan to deal with the deficit and that the budget would be balanced in the next two years.
One step, Mr. Chandler said, was to move the food service employees’ benefits from the food service budget to the general fund.
The board held this meeting in the newly renovated library at the high school. The room is not open to students yet since there are few minor projects to finish and there were not yet any books on the book shelves. The construction project, which started last year with upgrades to the technology and included major renovations of the high school the locker rooms and gym, is moving along, according to Faculties Director Steven Marotta.
The board will hold a special hearing November 18 at 7 p.m. to discuss the district’s tax exemption for veterans.
The next regular meeting is Tuesday, November 4, at 7 p.m. in the High School Library.
To contact Emilia Teasdale email firstname.lastname@example.org.