City officials have sent the Gloversville Enlarged School District an IOU acknowledging the city owes the district about $480,000 in 2004-05 school taxes it did not turn over to the district that year or since.
City Finance Commissioner Bruce Van Genderen wrote the district a letter Jan. 24 specifying the sum at the close of 2007 and committing the city to a schedule of installment payments of $50,000 per month starting in February.
Until 2006, the city was responsible for tax collections on city property, a role that compelled the city to make the county and school district whole for any taxes owed them on city properties. As the tax collector, the city had the option of eventually foreclosing to recover any unpaid taxes. Starting in 2006, the county assumed the tax collection role in the city.
In 2004-05, Van Genderen said, the city was just starting to rebound from four consecutive years of budget deficits that accumulated to $1.7 million.
“The funds just weren’t there, that’s the simple truth,” Van Genderen said.
The city had applied tax collections from those years to operating the city, he said. He said the city also owed the county in those years about $500,000. That debt has been retired.
But, he said, the city is now “in a position to begin paying off [the school district]. This is a commitment we can fulfill,” he said, citing a series of consecutive budget surpluses that erased the deficit.
Gloversville school superintendent Robert DeLilli said both sides have been aware of the city’s obligation for some time. By law, he said, the city had two years to pay the school district and is now a year late.
“We would like the money to be paid off,” DeLilli said.
Van Genderen said he expects to have the entire debt to be cleared up by the end of December.