Written by Melissa Argueta Friday, 20 August 2010 00:00
All seats were taken for the Garden City Board of Education’s final meeting of the summer. After a long and winding budget season, the Garden City School District announced that the school district is lowering the year-to-year tax levy increase from 4.18 percent to 3.95 percent after being reimbursed by the state for the MTA Payroll Tax.
Superintendent for Business and Finance Al Chase explained that the news was unexpected. “We had some concerns certainly about not only our district but all school districts in general, receiving back the money that we paid in the MTA tax. It had been promised to us some time ago, never received. Of course, the state is still having its fiscal woes and we didn’t believe that we would ever see this money,” he said. At the first of July, the school district received a check from the state reimbursing the district for the amount they paid in MTA tax. Chase recommended to the board that the district reduce the tax levy by $200,000.
The MTA Payroll tax requires local businesses, municipalities and school districts to pay 34 cents for every $100 of their payrolls to help dig the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) out of a $1 billion deficit. The tax affects all businesses and municipalities, school districts and nonprofit organizations that have a payroll and hospitals within the areas that are serviced by the MTA, including Nassau County.
School Board President Colleen Foley asked what the additional revenue will mean in terms of dollar amounts for the average household in Garden City. “We have gone from a 4.18 percent tax increase to a 3.95,” Chase said. He also noted that the new tax levy will go into effect by October or November, according to Chase.
On May 18, Garden City residents voted down the budget 1,662 to 1,459, with a gap of 203 votes. After additional cuts, the revised 2010-11 budget totaled $97,988,490. On June 15, with the largest voter turnout in nearly 10 years, Garden City residents passed the 2010-11 budget by a margin of 3,241 to 1,991. Residents passed the budget with a budget-to-budget increase over the current year at 2.91 percent (reduced from 3.21 percent) and with a tax levy increase at 4.18 percent with STAR (reduced from 4.52).