Congrats to the editor for last Friday’s editorials on “The Taxman Cometh” and the “SALT Assault.” [Feb. 12] We hope every Scarsdale taxpayer has read these editorials and understands the ramifications of each, particularly “The Taxman Cometh.”
If you chose to take advantage of paying your village and school taxes in two payments for the first time in Scarsdale history while other Westchester towns have had this option for many, many years, you had the opportunity to invest or manage your funds for an extra four months.
Now for those Scarsdale taxpayers who failed to pay the second half of their school tax bill by Jan. 31, they are subject, by law, to a 10% late penalty on their tax due to be paid by March 31. If not paid, the late penalty increases to 12% if paid by April 30. After May 1, a tax lien will be placed on the property. The village of Scarsdale will collect these late penalty fees by law. The homeowner cannot avoid the late penalty.
Sadly, the Scarsdale treasurer’s office has indicated that the current unpaid school taxes equal $8,350,000, which means just 94% has been paid so far. Historically the village would have collected over 99% of the school tax by this time of year. There are about 534 Scarsdale homeowners, or about 10% of our community, who have not paid their full school tax bill. This fact indicates the difficulty and financial stress that many of our neighbors are having during COVID-19. We urge the village board to keep any tax rate increase to under 2%.
The village will have an additional revenue item of 10% of $8,350,000 ($835,000) in the revenue line of Penalty on Taxes for the coming June 1 budget, which lists only $165,000 in penalty revenue now. This revenue should reduce the current projected tax increase of 3.91% to about a 2.2% tax increase. In addition, the village staff was looking at a 1% to 2% reduction in each department’s budget.
The village has an unassigned projected fund balance of $7,348,581 for the May 31, 2021 year and a COVID-19 emergency fund that should be used to the fullest extent possible to reduce any tax rate increase during this pandemic period. We support a tax increase of less than 2%.
Finally, we have strongly opposed the 12.5% increase for our beautiful outdoor pool fee this summer. The village board should revisit the proposed fee and instead increase the fee by 5% if paid by May 1 and 15% thereafter. The bulk of our pool members have young children or are our senior citizens, many on fixed incomes who need help during COVID-19.
Chairman, Scarsdale Taxpayer Alert
Fox Meadow Road