Readers Write: Port Washington School Board: Please limit our tax increase to 2%

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With the new federal tax deduction limit for state and local taxes, many taxpayers are seeing a greater impact from our high property taxes,  more than 60 percent of which are school taxes. Instead of getting 30 percent back in federal and state taxes, most taxpayers now get back only 6 percent.

I want to compliment our Port Washington Library Board for the great job they’ve done in actually lowering both our costs and library taxes over the past two years. Thanks both to Nancy Curtin, our excellent library head for 20-plus years, and also our very fine new director, Keith Klang.

I’ve also known most of our school superintendents for the past 40 years, and all were pretty good, but Dr. Kathleen Mooney, in my view, has been the best.  We will miss her next year.

My key request in this letter is to ask our school board to come in 1 percent below our tax cap, which is now almost 2.9 percent.  For the past six years, we’ve come in right at the tax cap, and this cap was well above the normal cap due to significant capital expenditures exempted from the cap. 

State aid is far higher this year for our school district (up 13 percent) and is the third highest percent increase in all of Nassau. And pension costs are lower.  So it’s quite reasonable this year for our tax increase to be 2 percent rather than 3 percent.

In recent years I’ve voted for the budget.  This year I will do so only if the tax increase is 2 percent or lower. Yes, it is still likely to pass even if set at 2.9 percent, but this unfairly harms many Port Washington taxpayers this year and will in future years as well.

The key reason our tax cap is nearly 3 percent and not 2 percent is because the $70 million bond ($100 million including interest) passed by our school board primarily set the bond vote date at an unusual time when most wouldn’t be voting.

Please keep our tax increase to 2 percent –the real cap!

Frank J. Russo, Jr.

President

Port Washington Educational Assembly

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