Homeowner tax rates approved by the Katonah Lewisboro school board Thursday night are slightly higher than the amounts projected in May.
Though the overall tax levy, which was set in May at $99,783,239, has not changed, the slight increase from projected to actual tax rates are a result of a decline in overall assessed property values, according to Michael Jumper, assistant superintendent of business, who presented the information at Thursday night's school board meeting.
The tax levy is the total amount of money to be raised through property taxes to support the budget, and tax rates are used to determine how much each taxpayer must contribute to the tax levy.
At the time of the 2011-12 school district budget passing in May, taxes were projected to increase by 1.71 percent in Bedford, 5.43 percent in Lewisboro, 7.87 percent in Pound Ridge and 7.33 percent in North Salem.
They are now set to increase by 5.79 percent in Lewisboro, 2.06 percent in Bedford, 8.23 percent in Pound Ridge and 7.69 percent in North Salem.
See the the comparison table below for a look at recent years' tax rates.
that once the levy is established, the board has little control over the tax rates, which are a factor of the value a town assessor has placed on an individual's property and the state equalization rates, said Jumper.
One reason values may decline, for example, is when homeowners go through a property grievance process. Any value lost through grievances must be made up through the tax rate.
The board approved the return of $2,254,012 in surplus funds to be returned to voters, and the use of $500,000 from reserve funds to offset the tax levy.
Reserve funds allocated to the budget include $35,000 from the unemployment reserve; $200,000 from the retirement contribution reserve, and $265,000 from the employee benefits accrued liability reserve.
"The total sum of the taxes is the exact same number," Jumper said. "I want the tax levy to be as low as reasonably possible. We utilize reserves to help offset the taxpayers' burden."
The district's remaining fund balance is at $4,299,230, or 3.87 percent of the 2011-12 budget, which is close to the 4 percent allowed under state law.
A comparison of recent tax rates in Katonah-LewisboroTown 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12, projected 2011-12, actual Bedford -1.42 7.45 1.71 2.06 Lewisboro 2.03 1.22 5.43 5.79 Pound Ridge 1.58 -.56 7.87 8.23 North Salem 2.03 -2.75 7.33 7.69
* all rates are increases unless marked with a (-) sign.