Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Chappaqua school board resolution calls for mandate relief

I came across this copy of the January 11, 2011 Chappaqua school board resolution calling for mandate relief, and I suspect most Westchester school districts are taking similar action in response to Governor Cuomo's push to impose a 2% property tax cap.  An interesting side note is that Chappaqua is the home of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Resolution adopted by Chappaqua Central School District BOE -
Re: NY STATE Property Tax Cap Proposal

Be it Resolved by the Chappaqua Central School District Board of Education that Legislative and Unfunded Mandate Relief Must be Included in any NY State Property Tax Cap Proposal.
WHEREAS, New York State leads the nation in local property taxes, in large part because New York leads the nation in imposing unfunded state mandates upon our local municipalities and school districts; and
WHEREAS, state mandated pension fund contributions are one of the largest components of every school district and municipal budget over which local officials have little control, and are increasing at exorbitant rates annually such that bills from the State Retirement System (ERS) will increase 40% and bills from the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) will increase 33% in the 2011-12 school year; and
WHEREAS, state laws such as the Triborough Amendment, pertaining to the collective bargaining of contracts between school districts and employee unions, impede the ability of local officials to reasonably control the costs that such contracts impose upon local property taxpayers; and
WHEREAS, as a solution to New York's property tax crisis, the Governor of New York and members of the New York State Legislature have pledged to consider enactment of legislation imposing a cap on the annual growth in local property taxes; and
WHEREAS, any property tax cap must be accompanied simultaneously (1) by ending the practice of pushing State costs onto local school districts and municipalities, and (2) by a repeal of current underfunded or unfunded state mandates that require local municipalities and school districts to significantly increase spending and therefore local property taxes; and
WHEREAS, a property tax cap without repeal of costly underfunded and unfunded state mandates will inescapably lead to drastic cuts in essential local school district programs and services, as well as significant layoffs of school district employees;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Chappaqua Central School District, that the Governor of the State of New York and the members of the New York State Senate and New York State Assembly must reform the cost drivers that lead to high property taxes in New York - including mandate relief, pension benefits and the collective bargaining process - as the central element of any effort to provide property tax relief to the residents and businesses of New York State.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the Governor, Senate Majority and Minority Leaders, Assembly Speaker and Minority Leader, and the members of the State Senate and Assembly representing residents of the Chappaqua Central School District.

The foregoing resolution was offered by Jeffrey Mester, seconded by Janet Benton and passed unanimously by a vote of all members present. It was adopted on January 11, 2011 at the regular public meeting of the Chappaqua Board of Education.
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