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What impact could ESM’s proposed budget potentially have on district taxpayers?
School tax rates are estimated to increase by 1.59% if voters approve the proposed 2021-22 budget. On a home assessed at $100,000, the overall tax bill increase for 2021-22 after the Basic STAR exemption would be approximately $27.74 over last year. For senior citizens with Enhanced STAR, the overall tax bill would increase an estimated $11.97 for 2021-22.
In general, the proposed tax increase equates to approximately 40 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. Please remember final assessments and equalization rates are not available until August, at which time we will finalize the tax rate.

I noticed that ESM’s 2021-22 proposed budget is increasing by 4.59%. Can you explain what caused this increase?
Much of the proposed budget increase will be offset by additional state aid. ESM’s 2021-22 state aid is projected to increase by 10% over the Governor’s proposed budget. This increase is a result of additional Foundation Aid, a formula-driven aid category that supports general public school district expenditures.
Our budget also includes new debt service for Phase I of the Elementary Objective Capital Project, which is fully offset by a corresponding increase in state Building Aid. The capital project includes work at all four elementary buildings and our pre-k.
The additional state aid will be invested to support:
  • Instructional program investments to support fully reopening schools and student learning acceleration
  • Additional student health / mental health supports
  • Special education services & programming
  • Pre-k program support

I see the proposed Tax Levy is increasing by 2.61%.  Doesn’t this exceed the NYS property tax cap?  Will eligible property owners still be able to receive either the Basic or Enhanced STAR exemption or credit?
The state calculates a property tax cap for each district using a formula that sometimes yields a cap over 2%. While the tax levy increase in the proposed budget is 2.61%, this is still BELOW ESM’s calculated cap. Because the levy WILL NOT exceed the tax cap, eligible ESM property owners can still receive either the Basic or Enhanced STAR exemption or credit.
In addition, the net taxpayer impact of the tax levy increase is actually just 1.36%. ESM receives revenue from Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreements. Because several businesses/organizations have PILOTs ending in 2021-22, those properties will no longer pay PILOT to the district and will instead transition to paying the district via property taxes. This shift accounts for the greatest portion of the tax levy increase.

I just got my property assessment from the local Town offices and my property value went up. Does this mean my school taxes will automatically increase?
No.  If your assessment increased, it doesn't mean that your taxes will automatically increase. For example, if your assessment went up, and the assessments of most other properties in the town increased by the same percentage, your share of the taxes would remain the same. 
Final assessments and equalization rates are not available to the school district until August, at which time we will finalize the tax rate.

What factors influence my school tax bill?
There are four major factors that are used to calculate your property’s school tax bill:
  • Your school district’s tax levy. (Set by the school district)
  • Your property’s assessed value. (Determined by your town’s property assessor)
  • The equalization rate for your property’s taxing jurisdiction. (Established by the Office of Real Property Services (ORPS), a state agency)
  • Your property’s STAR (New York State School Tax Relief Program) exemption value. (determined by New York State)