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Chappaqua Schools Reserve Money For Tax Refunds

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – Nearly $1 million in surplus money has been set aside by the Chappaqua Central School District to help pay for property tax refunds at the Riverwoods condominium development.

According to Assistant Superintendent John Chow, the district will be on the hook for $933,897 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.

“This is to pay back two years of over assessment,” Chow said.

Board member Jeff Mester questioned why the district needed to use the surplus money when it already has $3.3 million of fund balance set aside for such cases.

Chow said Riverwoods is just the tip of the iceberg, and the district could have nearly $10 million in exposure to property tax grievances when all the petitions are received by October.

“The reason we need to keep that $3.3 million in there is because every year we have more people petitioning,” Chow said.

The board does not anticipate all the grievances to be upheld in full, but said it is reasonable to set aside about 40 percent of what the district’s exposure is.

“We have a potential $9.6 million, with the understanding that it probably wouldn't amount to $9.6 (million) exactly, but that’s what our exposure is,” said School Board President Victoria Tipp.

In total, the district reported a $2,033,000 surplus from the 2011-12 school year. The remainder of the balance will be added to the Retirement Contribution Reserve Fund, because Chow expects an increase in payments to both the Teacher Retirement System and the Employee Retirement System.

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