School Superintendent Richard Organisciak, responding to doubts first raised by Talk of the Sound last March, has admitted that the assessed value of property in New Rochelle could be dramatically lower that projected in final budget to be submitted to voters on May 19th. In a school district video aired on Channel 77 this past Friday, Organisciak called it “entirely possible” that his own projections are way off.
The sort of decline Organisciak envisions would cause a massive tax increase — two to three times higher than the 3.22% increase announced by the District just two weeks ago.
TOS readers will recall that in dozens of community meetings and school board meetings, Organisciak and Schools Finance Chief John Quinn repeatedly defended their assumption that the assessed value of property would remain the same as the year before despite a 25% drop in property values. Reports around the county indicated that tax appeals are up more than 300%.
In response to a firestorm of criticism, the school district grudgingly increased their assumption slightly from 1.41% to 1.76 but nowhere near the 3.0% figure provided to Talk of the Sound by City of New Rochelle Finance Commission Howard Ratner. Property tax experts around Westchester County have scoffed at the school districts projections.
Displaying complete ignorance about the tax assessable process works, Organisciak said “it is entirely possible that three months from now, six months from now, seven months from now that there would be a significant change”. The tax appeals are in June, the new assessables are calculated in August and the results are published in September. Six or seven months from now is November or December, long after the process will have been completed for 2009.
By the way, at the every end you hear the stooge from the League of Women Voters say something about the assessables numbers used by the district is an educated estimate based on historical data. You can hear Organisciak agreeing, saying “Oh yes, yes”. This is entirely BS. Earlier in the “interview” Quinn talks about how they have nothing to do with preparing the number, they get it from the tax assessor. The fact is that they are pulling this number out of Cindy Babcock-Deutsch’s … ummm…ear.