Niagara Gazette

Lewiston

June 11, 2013

Lew-Port promotes tax numbers

Niagara Gazette — With a tax levy increase up in the air for 2013-14, Lewiston-Porter officials are hoping the estimated rise is much more friendly to taxpayers than last month's proposal.

Lew-Port has asked residents to approve a 3.95 percent tax levy increase, which is below New York state's tax levy cap as calculated by state-provided formulas, as part of a $39.6 million spending plan.

With the increase, Town of Porter residents with a $125,000 assessed house would pay approximately $1,959 in school taxes next year under the state's basic STAR exemption. The figure reflects a $30 increase from the current year's tax run, which saw the same house charged $1,929.

For a house with the exact same assessed value and an enhanced STAR exemption for senior citizens, the proposed levy increase would turn into a $34 increase, as taxes jump to $1,317.

A Town of Lewiston home, assessed at the same value, would be subject to a $67 increase ($2,369 total) in taxes under the basic STAR exemption and a $19 increase ($1,725 total) for seniors with the enhanced STAR.

Similarly, a $200,000 assessed value home would see a basic STAR increase of $122 in Lewiston ($4,139 total) and a $72 jump in Porter ($3,481). An enhanced STAR exemption for the same property value would see an increase in taxes of $73 in Lewiston ($3,495) and $76 in Porter ($2,839).

These proposed increases come on the heels of a failed budget proposal last month, which would have increased the district's levy – the total dollar amount the district collects in county property tax – by 5.52 percent. Following the defeated budget, the district's administration eliminated some modified sports programs and several positions from the payroll, including cleaning staff and both teacher aides and school monitors.

The result is a spending plan School Board President Jodee Riordan said is more affordable to the public.

"We're only asking for a modest increase in our tax levy," she said. "And it was brought on by the decrease in our state aid. We've made significant cuts to our budget and it's almost $1 million less than it was last year. So we're hoping it passes."

Contact reporter Timothy Chipp at 282-2311, ext. 2251 or follow on Twitter @timchipp.

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