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Letter: Property Taxes Are Too High In Farmingdale

(This letter was sent to State Senators Hannon and Fuschillo, State Assemblymen Conte, Sweeny and Saladino and to Newsday. It is printed here at the author’s request.)

The Concerned Citizens Association of Farmingdale civic board has been and continues to be very concerned over the burden of very high property taxes in our community and on Long Island.  Over the past year we have provided forums for discussion on many relative issues, including school taxes, NYS education mandates, illegal apartments/housing, housing affordability, foreclosures, local economic development and property taxes.

The number one driver of high property taxes continues to be the cost of funding public school education.  As more residents fall into foreclosure, young people leave Long Island and businesses move to other states, we do not see enough action by our NYS elected officials.  The continuing 2010-11 budget crisis just makes a bad situation even worse.  Over 20 of the last 25 years the NYS budget has been late showing the continued dysfunction between all members of NYS government and this year only shows that continues even more.

We have heard of a few ideas, seen and read proposed bills that go nowhere.  Our members and residents need leadership and a clear direction that provides real tax relief this year and in the very near future to Farmingdale, as well as all Long Island residents.  

At the June 17 CCAF civic meeting we explored again many of these issues and would like to offer our collective thoughts for reducing the high tax burden. Since you all were in Albany dealing with the budget crisis we would like you to consider our ideas.  We plan on continuing this dialogue through the summer and again in a public forum at our September civic meeting of which you all are invited once again.     

CCAF high tax priority issues:

1. School taxes

2. Unfunded and under-funded NYS mandates

3. Pension funding reforms

4. MTA taxes to Long Island schools and businesses

5. Duplicate and overlapping taxing authorities

6. Energy costs

A recent news survey showed the number one issue for Long Islanders was overwhelmingly the need to reduce property taxes. Toward that goal CCAF has collected the following thoughts and ideas.  CCAF suggests NYS officials need to better address items that could help to reduce high taxes as follows:

-NYS revises the school finance funding formula.

-School districts contain costs, reduce/hold salaries and benefits, board of education control.

-NYS reviews the potential for consolidation of neighboring districts.

-NYS reduces unfunded and under-funded mandates deemed ineffective by local administrations and boards of education.

-NYS funds those mandates deemed effective by administration and boards of education.

-NYS revises pension funds to a 401K-like device with no guarantee replacement for investment choices that lose value.

-NYS reviews Republic Airport businesses that pay no school district 22 taxes to help relieve/reduce some local burden.

-NYS does not fund charter schools with taxpayer monies.

CCAF would ask residents who feel strongly about these issues and ideas to reduce property taxes to call and write their NYS elected representatives. Also, please attend Farmingdale School Board meetings.  Ask your board of education to help reduce the tax burden on School District  22 homeowners.  The next school board meeting is Wednesday night, July 14 at the Howitt School.  Note that contracts are up for negotiation this year.

Please consider joining us on Thursday Sept. 16 at the Allen Park meeting room in South Farmingdale at 7:30 p.m. to discuss this critical matter.  Your presence and participation is appreciated and needed.  Join a civic... be aware, get informed, participate and help make a difference in your community.

CCAF Board members

President Chuck Gosline

VP Tina Diamond

Treasurer Phil Badome  

Past President Lisa Twomey

Brian Ciampo