With a town-gown meeting coming up, some lessons from our fraternal twin, Scarsdale

February 1, 2014
by Christine Yeres

Remember the old “Contrast and compare . . . ” assignments?  From time to time, I find it instructive to look in on Scarsdale’s “hyper-local” news coverage.  With our Town Board and Board of Ed members meeting jointly next week—at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 5, at Greeley’s Academic Commons—I checked to see what Scarsdale is thinking and talking about.

A “high-performance” school district with roughly the same population and number of households as New Castle, Scarsdale is grappling with some of the same issues that are front-and-center here, too: Pressure from Governor Cuomo to consolidate services; prodigious school budgets (Scarsdale had to go to its public for approval a second time last year); and property revaluation (well on its way to completion, now with a debate about whether to tax condos as single-fee).  This is a take-home exam—take-home and open-book!

I’ll start out with a most startling difference: area.  Scarsdale’s geographic area is 6.6 square miles (population density: 2,600/sq.mi.) ; New Castle’s is 23.4 square miles (population density: 750/sq.mi.).

Pressure from Cuomo to consolidate services:

http://www.scarsdale10583.com/about-joomla/village-voices/3789-residents-and-officials-voice-concern-about-cuomo-s-consolidation-proposal

School budget and tax cap:

http://www.scarsdale10583.com/about-joomla/schools/3791-administration-sets-the-stage-for-2014-15-school-budget-discussions

This year’s Scarsdale school budget unveiled:

“The adjusted tax cap would be 4.18%, which means that the current proposed budget is $278,993 or .21% above the cap and would require a 60% approval rate by voters. The tax cap was calculated beginning with the 1.46% figure from the state, plus 1.59% in real property growth in Scarsdale in addition to the adjustment for capital improvements.

~ from http://scarsdale10583.com/about-joomla/schools/3807-school-administrators-unveil-first-draft-of-2014-15-school-budget

Revaluation—Homestead Act, deciding whether condos should be valued as single-family:

http://www.scarsdale10583.com/about-joomla/shout-it-out/3748-scarsdale-forum-recommends-adoption-of-the-homestead-tax-to-raise-taxes-for-christie-place-condo-owners

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