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Chappaqua Schools Approve Riverwoods Refunds

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – Chappaqua Central School District's Board of Education agreed Tuesday morning to return nearly $1 million to the Riverwoods condominium development in Millwood after a court ordered the tax refund that school officials said left their hands tied.

“We have no choice in the matter,” said school board President Victoria Tipp. “It was a very late judgment, which I think made the notice of the tax rate and made some significant changes to the tax rates that we have no control over. But, there it is.”

Assistant Superintendent John Chow said the motion was not to approve the settlement, because the settlement was already approved by a court ruling. Tuesday’s motion was to approve transferring the funds from the reserve balance into the 2012-13 budget.

School board member Jeff Mester wondered why the board was being asked to “approve” something that it could not actually vote down.

“There’s something inherently odd about us approving things that have been court ordered,” Mester said.

The district will be on the hook for $933,894.90 of the total $1,392,495 Riverwoods will be receiving in tax refund payments. The remainder will be paid by Westchester County and the Town of New Castle. Chow said the money is to pay back two years of over-assessment.

Mester shot down the idea of a revaluation of the district’s properties, saying that so many homeowners have challenged their assessments already, that the tax rates are becoming more balanced anyway. Tipp said the board has no official position on a property revaluation.

“There hasn’t been an official town-wide reval, but it’s almost been de facto,” Mester said. “So many people have applied. At this point, if you haven’t applied, you’re rich or you’re wealthy or you’re something.”

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