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What you need to know for 03/28/2017

Report: Schenectady's tax rate area's highest

Report: Schenectady's tax rate area's highest

The city of Schenectady had the highest tax rate in the Capital Region in 2014, according to the Emp
Report: Schenectady's tax rate area's highest
The GE Realty Plot Historic District at Lowell and Avon roads in Schenectady Thursday, June 9, 2016.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

The city of Schenectady had the highest tax rate in the Capital Region in 2014, according to the Empire Center.

Schenectady residents paid $46.20 per $1,000 of home value during 2014, according to the Empire Center’s annual examination of local property taxes. The tax rate includes school, county and city (or town and village) taxes.

During that time, the median home value in Schenectady was $116,700 with the tax on median homes at $5,392, according to the report, called Benchmarking NY, released on Thursday.

Highest and Lowest

Top 10

1. City of Schenectady

Tax rate (per $1,000): $46.20

Median home value: $116,700

Tax on median home: $5,392

2. City of Albany

Tax rate (per $1,000): $44.85

Median home value: $173,500

Tax on median home: $7,782

3. Scotia-Glenville

Tax rate (per $1,000): $43.39

Median home value: $147,400

Tax on median home: $6,396

4. Green Island, Albany County

Tax rate (per $1,000): $41.14

Median home value: $123,600

Tax on median home: $5,085

5. City of Rensselaer

Tax rate (per $1,000): $40.79

Median home value: $147,600

Tax on median home: $6,021

6. Schodack, Rensselaer County

Tax rate (per $1,000): $40.48

Median home value: $164,100

Tax on median home: $6,642

7. Whitehall, Washington County

Tax rate (per $1,000): $39.60

Median home value: $83,000

Tax on median home: $3,286

8. Waterford, Saratoga County

Tax rate (per $1,000): $39.10

Median home value: $169,000

Tax on median home: $6,608

9. City of Troy

Tax rate (per $1,000): $38.31

Median home value: $142,900

Tax on median home: $5,474

10. Fort Edward, Washington County

Tax rate (per $1,000): $37.39

Median home value: $100,400

Tax on median home: $3,754

Bottom 10

1. Edinburg, Saratoga County

Tax rate (per $1,000): $9.19

Median home value: $219,400

Tax on median home: $2,016

2. Hague, Warren County

Tax rate (per $1,000): $9.47

Median home value: $201,000

Tax on median home: $1,903

3. Bolton, Warren County

Tax rate (per $1,000): $9.53

Median home value: $301,400

Tax on median home: $2,873

4. Day, Saratoga County

Tax rate (per $1,000): $9.94

Median home value: $166,100

Tax on median home: $1,651

5. Horicon, Warren County

Tax rate (per $1,000): $10.26

Median home value: $219,400

Tax on median home: $2,251

6. Bolton-Lake George, Warren County

Tax rate (per $1,000): $10.92

Median home value: $301,400

Tax on median home: $3,290

7. Hague-North Warren County

Tax rate (per $1,000): $11.09

Median home value: $201,000

Tax on median home: $2,228

8. Horicon-North Warren County

Tax rate (per $1,000): $11.88

Median home value: $219,400

Tax on median home: $2,607

9. Chester, Warren County

Tax rate (per $1,000): $12.37

Median home value: $296,600

Tax on median home: $3,668

10. Lake George, Warren County

Tax rate (per $1,000): $12.64

Median home value: $250,200

Tax on median home: $3,162

Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy said the tax rate in the city is high because of a shortfall in municipal aid and school aid.

McCarthy said Schenectady gets a little more than $11 million in municipal aid compared to Troy at $12 million, Utica at $16 million and Niagara Falls at $17 million.

“That all translates into higher property taxes,” he said. “The city’s tax levy since 2012 is down 0.74 percent. Our trend has been very stable and is down slightly. Since 2014 clearly the outlook has improved.”

McCarthy stressed that the Schenectady City School District is half of residents’ property tax bill and that the district doesn’t get its full funding from the state.

“If we got our fair share of school aid and municipal aid, you will see a substantial reduction,” he said. “In Schenectady’s perspective, I’m looking for equalization to get our fair share compared to other communities.”

Schenectady schools Superintendent Larry Spring said if the district got its fair share of state aid the district could reduce its taxes by half and the overall tax bill by about a third.

This year the district got an $11 million increase in school aid, but Spring said the district is still shorted about $54 million annually.

“We’re still probably the most short-changed school district in the state,” he said. “They are leaving the residents to pay the highest rate in the region and still it’s generating a woefully inadequate amount of money.”

Spring said if the state continued to increase school aid for the district at the amount it did this year it would take about 10 to 12 years to close the gap.

McCarthy noted that last year Moody’s Investors Service removed its negative outlook for the city and affirmed the city’s general operating bond rating at A3. Earlier this year Moody’s revised its outlook to positive for the city, pointing to the future Rivers Casino and Resort at Mohawk Harbor.

McCarthy said he expects a 10 percent reduction in homeowners’ property taxes in 2017 thanks to the casino, which is expected to open in March at the Mohawk Harbor site off Erie Boulevard.

“With the casino coming in and Mohawk Harbor and the other developments, you’re seeing a level of activity here that hasn’t happened in a long time,” he said.

The village of Scotia, in the town of Glenville, had the third highest tax rate in 2014 at $43.39 per $1,000 of home value, the report says. The median home value in Scotia-Glenville was $147,400 with $6,396 tax on a median home.

The town of Edinburg in Saratoga County had the lowest tax rate in the Capital Region in 2014 at $9.19 per $1,000 of home value, the report says. The median home value was $219,400 with $2,016 in taxes.

“There’s no question that New Yorkers pay some of the highest property taxes in the country, but the burden can vary widely even among neighboring jurisdictions,” said Tim Hoefer, executive director of the Empire Center, in a statement.

“By making it easier to compare taxes in different localities, we hope to encourage local taxpayers and elected officials to search for ways of reducing taxes and spending,” he said.

The median effective tax rate per $1,000 of home value in the Capital Region was $25.63 in 2014, according to the Empire Center, an Albany-based nonprofit.

The town of Niskayuna in Schenectady County had the region’s highest tax on median-value homes at $8,290. The median home value in Niskayuna in 2014 was $247,400. The tax rate per $1,000 home value there was $33.51.

The lowest tax bill on median-value homes during the same time was in the town of Ashland in Greene County at $1,035. The median home value there in 2014 was $64,800 and the tax rate was $15.98 per $1,000 home value.

“The city’s tax rate is stable,” McCarthy said. “Upstate New York property taxes are just too high.”

Benchmarking NY uses data from the state Comptroller’s Office to calculate effective tax rates, which are the combined county, municipal and school taxes as a percent of market value.

To see components of local property taxes and compare property taxes in communities visit the Empire Center’s property tax calculate at SeeThroughNY.net, or view the full Benchmarking NY report.

Reach Gazette reporter Haley Viccaro at 395-3114, hviccaro@dailygazette.net or @HRViccaro on Twitter.

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