Fredonia Central tax report approved

The Fredonia Central School District has approved the tax collector’s report for the 2013-14 school year.

School Business Administrator John Forbes detailed the report before it was voted on at a recent board of education meeting.

“We actually had an original tax levy at $15,079,018, and from that, we had reductions during the collection process of a little over $95,000,” he said. “You may recall that was, for the most part, the Carriage House tax reduction. We also had four or five other (assessment cases) that had been brought before the court … and also a number of STAR changes. The STAR chan-ges, we did get to send into the state, so we will ultimately be good on that part, but we are ending up the levy process down the $95,000 in assessment chan-ges and there’s really nothing we can do about that.”

Ralcorp Holdings Inc. (which is owned by ConAgra Foods Inc.) challenged the assessment of 14 properties that make up The Carriage House in the village of Fredonia. The company had filed a petition with Chautauqua County in late July and a settlement of $1,514,941 in total assessed valuation was reached in early September, which was a reduction of about $200,000 from the 2013 tax roll.

Of the $14,983,251 net tax levy, $11,624,213 was collected. A total of $805,791 (6.48 percent) was not collected from taxpayers. The remaining balance, $2,553,246, is the STAR reimbursement from the state. A total of 6.42 percent of school taxes was not collected from taxpayers last year, which is virtually the same as this year.

Board President Michael Bobseine thanked the district taxpayers for their continuing support of the school.

“It really is pretty astounding at one level, when you think of the percentage of collection relative to the taxes. And just generally speaking, it’s a real tribute to the district and the taxpayers in the district that we get that sort of compliance relative to the tax collection,” he said.

The approved report of unpaid taxes will be forwarded to the Chautauqua County Department of Real Property Tax Services.

Also during the meeting, the board approved the appointment of Leisa Hellwig to a one-year probationary period for the position of registered nurse at the Wheelock School. Hellwig’s salary will be per the Salaried Support Staff Association contract with the school. She will work five hours per day for ten months out of the year.

Superintendent Paul DiFonzo welcomed Hellwig to the district.

“I’m sure she’ll be a great addition,” he added.

DiFonzo also announced the main part of the Siemens Energy Project within the school district is now 100 percent complete.

“We’re basically going to be mapping out the final details of the project and put a report together to see how we can finish out or close out,” he said.

An agreement allowing for a continuation of the shared indoor track program with Westfield Academy and Central School for the 2013-14 school year was passed. DiFonzo said one student from Westfield wished to participate on the team.

The board entered into executive session at the end of the meeting to discuss pending negotiations with the Fredonia Teachers Association and the SSSA.

The next regular meeting will be Dec. 10 at 6:30 p.m. in the high school library. A presentation regarding the school’s technology will be given at 6 p.m. immediately before the meeting.

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