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Tax Cap Limits Rye City and School Budgets

RYE, N.Y. -- Homeowner Michael Ice was glad when New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed the property tax cap bill but was also concerned about how it would affect the public services.

"The school system here is fantastic," said Ice. "I hope there will be enough money for the schools."

The bill limits the amount property taxes can be raised to two percent or the rate of inflation.

While this eases the financial burden on property owners, it will constrain both the budget for the city and the school district.

Rye School District Superintendent Ed Shine said figuring out how to maintain the high standard of education with a limited budget will be one of his main tasks in his final year before retirement.

The school district's adopted budget this year anticipated a 2.52 percent increase in the tax rate in order to meet its nearly $72 million budget before the bill was passed. It will now have to look for areas to reduce spending.

Mayor Doug French said that the city's operating budget this year has increased by over $1 million to roughly $30 million due to increases in pensions and the cost of healthcare. Given the 2 percent tax cap, he said the city would only be able to pull in an additional $300,000 in property tax revenue, leaving an over $700,000 deficit.

"I'm not saying (the tax cap) is a bad thing," said Mayor French. "But it's going to be a challenge."

How do you feel about the tax cap bill?

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