Three school districts plan to sue Fulton County over tax money

Three school districts plan to take Fulton County to court to recover nearly $1 million owed them in
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Categories: Schenectady County

Three school districts plan to take Fulton County to court to recover nearly $1 million owed them in back taxes from the Hudson River Black River Regulating District.

The school districts contend the county is obligated to make them whole for unpaid school taxes on which the regulating district defaulted for the 2011-2012 academic year.


School officials said the county owes $230,170 to the Broadalbin-Perth school district, $372,036 to the Mayfield school district and $337,981 to the Northville school district. All three have adopted budgets for 2012-2013 that did not factor in these outstanding funds. They balanced their budgets using combinations of program cuts, staff layoffs and reserves.

School officials said Saratoga County has made Broadalbin-Perth school district whole and Hamilton County has made the Northville school district whole for back taxes owed them by the regulating district for the 2012-2013 year, leaving only Fulton County with an outstanding obligation.

Fulton County Administrative Officer Jon Stead said the county cannot afford to pay the requested amounts and that the county will have to review its legal options. “I think the board [of supervisors] will have to look at the lawsuit and see what it is predicated on and see what its position is,” he said.

Stead said last year’s state Supreme Court decision held that Fulton County did owe the school districts, but that the regulating district is compelled to pay the county and the county the schools.

The county’s position is that the state should pay the county, as the regulating district is a state agency and the county cannot foreclose on state property as it normally does to reclaim delinquent taxes.

The regulating district defaulted Sept. 30 on its 2011-2012 school taxes, the fourth time since 2008, and Fulton County defaulted April 1 on making the three school districts whole.

Last Tuesday, the Mayfield and the Northville boards of education each passed resolutions authorizing an Article 78 proceeding. Broadalbin-Perth Superintendent Stephen Tomlinson expects his board to adopt a similar resolution May 8. Attorneys for the school districts then plan to file the Article 78 proceeding May 9, according to school officials.

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