Falconer School District Facing Drop In Taxable Value

The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities wastewater treatment plant on Quaint Road in the town of Poland saw a $5 million reduction in value during a recent revaluation, part of a $14 million decrease in the town. P-J photo by Jay Young

FALCONER — The Falconer Central School District is facing an “unprecedented” $22 million drop in taxable value following completed revaluations in the towns of Poland, Ellicott and Ellington.

Of the $22 million decrease within the district, the town of Poland accounts for $13.6 million and town of Ellicott $8.8 million.

“Twenty-two million dollars in the school district is unheard of; I have never ever seen anything close to it,” Falconer school board member Bob Carpenter said at this week’s meeting. “I spoke to the Ellington assessor today. I went over this whole tax warrant with her and she could not believe Poland had lost $14 million. She said that is unheard of.”

The total taxable value of a municipality is combined with a tax equalization rate in order to determine necessary tax amounts and rates for school districts. After a revaluation, municipalities operate on a equalization rate of 100%, indicating that property values are up-to-date. That percentage decreases as years pass since a recent assessment, allowing comparison of municipalities that assess at different times.

Prior to its reassessment, Poland’s expected true value was $99.2 million. After reassessment, the taxable value is actually $85.5 million.

Business manager Brent Agett told the board that he was aware of one cause for the drop in value — the city of Jamestown’s wastewater treatment plant in Poland.

“They decreased, this is not at their level, the state decreased the sewage plant for the city of Jamestown by $5 million in valuation,” Agett said. “Which made the biggest change in what happened to their parcels.”

The Falconer board passed a motion for a tax warrant of $7,133,890, which indicates the total operating cost for the coming school year. Following this year’s reassessments, the town of Carroll will see a tax rate increase of 16%, Ellicott a decrease of 13%, Ellington a decrease of 9%, Gerry an increase of 4% and Poland a decrease of 13%.

All three municipalities that underwent reassessments saw decreases in their tax rate this year.

“We have no control over this, but we turn out to be the bad guys,” Carpenter said. “That $5 million for the sewer plant is one thing, where is the other $9 million in Poland that they lost?”

Carpenter said that there have been past examples of decreasing value due to industries closing or similar situations, but that this year’s change has been unprecedented.


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