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Decision No. 13,308

Appeal of KARL AARSETH from action of the Board of Education of the Malverne Union Free School District regarding computation of tax rates.

Decision No. 13,308

(December 15, 1994)

Ehrlich, Frazer & Feldman, Esqs., attorneys for respondent, Florence T. Frazer, Esq., of counsel

SOBOL, Commissioner.--Petitioner challenges the tax rate established for the 1994-95 school year for the Malverne Union Free School District. The appeal must be dismissed.

Petitioner alleges that the Board of Education of the Malverne Union Free School District ("respondent") established tax rates for the current year which will result in respondent collecting funds in excess of what it budgeted for the year. In support of that allegation, petitioner cites figures supplied by respondent when it adopted a contingency budget on July 5, 1994. At that time, respondent stated that budget expenditures would be $22,427,796. Respondent projected that funds for the budget would be raised as follows:

State aid $4,250,000

District's fund balance 1,200,000

Miscellaneous revenue 950,000

Tax Levy 16,027,976


At that time, respondent also projected that the tax levy of $16,027,976 would be raised by levying taxes against real property assessed at $31,641,551. Petitioner has apparently divided the amounts of the tax levy by the projected total property assessment of $31,641,551 and determined that the proper tax rate is $50.654 per $100 of assessed valuation for each parcel of real property. Petitioner contends that since his tax rate is higher than $50.654, respondent is collecting more funds from taxes than is required to raise the amount needed for the budget.

As a preliminary matter, it must be noted that, contrary to petitioner's assertions, the tax rate is established by the Nassau County Board of Assessors and not by respondent. Respondent merely established the amount of money to be raised by taxes to meet district expenses, after deducting State aid and revenue sources other than real property taxes. The record reveals that the budget figures presented by respondent on July 5, 1994 were merely estimates and not actual figures. At that time, independent auditors had not completed the district's annual audit. Therefore, the amount of the district's fund balance available for use in the 1994-95 school year could only be estimated. In addition, the Nassau County Board of Assessors had not completed all pending tax certiorari proceedings involving real property in the district. Thus, the assessed valuation of property in the district could only be estimated.

Subsequently, the Nassau County Board of Assessors determined that the total assessed valuation of property located in the district was approximately $42,000 lower than the figure estimated by respondent. In addition, the auditors determined that the amount available from the district's fund balance was $200,000 less than had been projected. As a result, more taxes had to be raised from properties with a lower total assessed valuation.

Petitioner's contentions also ignore the fact that not all real property in the district is taxed at the same rate. Pursuant to a formula established by the Nassau County Board of Assessors, a different percentage of the tax levy is allocated to four separate classes of real property. Accordingly, the tax rate for each class is different. After reviewing the calculations supplied by respondent and the Nassau County Board of Assessors, I conclude that respondent is not collecting more taxes than is required to raise the revenue set forth in its budget.