East Williston ed board OKs tax levy

East Williston ed board OKs tax levy
The East Williston schools will continue to focus on STEM and social and emotional learning in the upcoming year.

By Rebecca Melnitsky

East Williston school officials are using $544,000 from last year’s school budget for the upcoming school year.

“Each year, the board of education approves taking a certain amount of money from excess funds from the prior year … to decrease the tax levy,” Sydney Freifelder, the interim assistant superintendent for business, said last Wednesday, adding that the appropriated fund balance was included in the budget that was approved in May.

The East Williston school district adopted the tax levy for the upcoming school year at the school board meeting last Wednesday.

Voters approved a budget of almost $58.3 million for the 2017-18 school year, with a tax levy of $53.2 million, alongside a proposal to spend $1 million in capital reserves on building projects within the district.

Tax levies across Nassau County must be filed with the county by Aug. 15.

Freifelder said homeowners pay 94.43 percent, or $50 million, of the nearly $53 million tax levy for the upcoming school year. Businesses, meanwhile, pay 4.24 percent, or $2.2 million.

“There’s not a lot of commercial property in East Williston,” Freifelder said. “If there was more commercial property, then the value of the amount of money [the homeowners] would pay would be less.”

Condominiums and utilities — such as light poles, telephone poles and cable boxes — make up the remaining 1.33 percent, or $707,400.

School board President Mark Kamberg added that Nassau County sets the proportions of what property types pay proportionally in the tax levy.

The district increased the tax levy by 0.98 percent, less than the maximum of 1.48 percent allowed under the state’s tax cap law. Since 2012, the state tax cap has limited municipal tax increases to approximately 2 percent or the rate of inflation — whichever is lower.

“And that would have been $53,216,846,” said Freifelder of the maximum increase. “Through careful budgeting and careful planning, the budget came with a tax levy of $52,995,796, which is a 0.98 [percent] increase on the tax levy, which is $261,052 below the cap — which is a pretty good thing.”

Freifelder said the district expects $3.4 million in state aid, as well as $1.3 million in other revenues such as grants.

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