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School proposal falls on taxpayers

To the Times of Ti:

In 2005, over 400 Ticonderoga property owners signed petitions calling for major property tax reform. The petitions pointed out that ever-escalating property taxes were seriously undermining our community, forcing long-standing residents to sell their homes. Our town board agreed and passed a unanimous resolution to our legislature and governor demanding reforms. Sadly, they have failed thus far to enact these reforms, despite ongoing efforts by concerned citizens all over the state.

Now, many Ticonderoga residents may wonder if our town boards Oct. 13, 2005, resolution should also have been addressed to our own school board.

New proposed major school renovations would be excellent to have if they did not fall heavily on the backs of local property taxpayers.

Ticonderoga and Hague voters should keep in mind that the proposed 12 percent increase in school property tax (not including any STAR reductions) will continue for 20 years on top of other new property tax increases they will be forced to pay for salaries, health insurance, retirement benefits, transportation and heating.

And dont forget IPs scheduled 2008 $6 million decline in assessed value. While IP is assured of its upcoming assessment reduction, other Ti and Hague taxpayers can only pray that their assessments will not go up and hope that the state equalization rate will not further increase their property taxes.

Voters should also note that, proposed to be buried in the school boards contract, is a $10,000 tab for Hague and Ti taxpayers to pay a PR firm to persuade themselves that they should vote for it an insult and waste of taxpayer money.

Earlier this year, Ticonderoga schools received an excellent rating, placing them in the top tier of state schools. Our teachers, administrators and parents should rightfully be proud of this but not perceive this as a green light for major new expenses that many homeowners cannot afford.

Instead of spending our tax dollars elsewhere, the federal and state government should invest the millions needed to maintain schools and not force residents to sell their homes through never-ending property tax increases.

Richard Wray
Ticonderoga

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