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Letter: The Downside To Affordable Housing

While I believe that the creation of affordable housing is a good thing, it also has a serious downside if too much of it is concentrated in one area. This downside is the cumulative effect on school taxes. 

 

Being a long time resident in the Westbury School District (34 years) I am no stranger to the persistent rise in school taxes. In recent years, this rise has been exacerbated by the amount of affordable housing being located in the New Cassel section of Westbury. The evidence can be easily seen by looking at the increasing number of new students being enrolled in the Westbury Schools.

 

To give myself a better understanding of the impact of this ever increasing enrollment, I conducted a comparison of the school taxes in the Westbury School District to the school taxes in the surrounding districts. What I discovered was eye opening. While my study was conducted for the tax years 2008 through 2014, due to space constraints, I am including the results for only the most recent tax year (2013-2014).  May I add, that the numbers from the full study (all six years), show that the tax gap between Westbury and the adjacent districts continues to widen.

 

For the basis of an “Apples to Apples” comparison, I have created a hypothetical house and property with a “Fair Market Value” of $400,000. All other raw data was taken from the Nassau County Land Records Viewer where I looked up the 2013-2014 School Tax

Rates for the Carle Place School District (SD #11), East Williston (SD #2), Garden City (SD #18), Hicksville (SD #17) Jericho (SD #15), Mineola ( SD#10); Uniondale (SD#2) and Westbury ( SD#1). 

 

The tax rate data does not include library assessments for the 3 districts in the sample that have libraries. The tax rate data does not reflect any exemptions (STAR, ENHANCED STAR or other).

 

The School Tax for each district was calculated as follows:

 

$400,000 (fair market value) was multiplied by .25 percent  (level of assessment fair market value) to get the assessed value per $100 to be used in the tax calculation. The product of this multiplication was then multiplied by the school tax rate for each district.

School Tax = (($400,000 * .0025) / 100) * (School Tax Rate). In simplified form this works out such that the computed tax equals the district tax rate times 10.

 

The results for school tax year 2013-2014 are below.

 

Carle Place: Tax rate per $100 assessed valuation: $759.53; School Tax on $400,000 home: $7595.30

 

East Williston: Tax rate per $100 assessed valuation: $822.90; School Tax on $400,000 home: $8229.00

 

Garden City: Tax rate per $100 assessed valuation: $598.21; School Tax on $400,000 home: $5982.10

 

Hicksville: Tax rate per $100 assessed valuation: $623.52; School Tax on $400,000 home: $6235.20

 

Jericho: Tax rate per $100 assessed valuation: $754.31; School Tax on $400,000 home: $7543.10

 

Mineola: Tax rate per $100 assessed valuation: $706.43; School Tax on $400,000 home: $7064.30

 

Uniondale: Tax rate per $100 assessed valuation: $709.08; School Tax on $400,000 home: $7090.80

 

Westbury: Tax rate per $100 assessed valuation: $1161.63 School Tax on $400,000 home: $11616.30

 

The Bottom Line

 

The same $400,000 property located in the Westbury School District would have school tax bills:

 

34.60 percent (or $4018.00) higher than if it were in the Carle Place School District

 

29.14 percent (or $3384.30) higher than if it were in the East Williston School District

 

48.49 percent (or $5631.20) higher than if it were in the Garden City School District

 

46.31 percent (or $5378.10) higher than if it were in the Hicksville School District

 

35.05 percent (or $4070.20) higher than if it were in the Jericho School District

 

39.17 percent (or $4549.00) higher than if it were in the Mineola School District

 

38.94 percent (or $4522.50) higher than if it were in the Uniondale School District

 

The results clearly show that taxpayers in the Westbury School District already shoulder a significantly higher school tax burden than all the surrounding districts for a property with the same $400,000 market value. Adding more affordable housing in Westbury will further swell the student enrollment forcing the already untenable tax rates significantly higher.  I believe that those officials in North Hempstead who are pushing for additional affordable housing in Westbury are either unaware of or simply insensitive to the financial burden being placed on the district’s existing residents. 

 

Looking at these numbers one could readily argue that the creation of affordable housing for one group of people is making housing less affordable for another group of people. There must be some form of balance in the equation so that the creation of affordable housing for one group does not result in pressure on another group to leave.

 

Jeremy C. Waldecker 

 

Westbury resident