PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION: President, New Rochelle Board of Education: Do not grant a tax exemption to Larchmont
At the July 2 New Rochelle Board of Education Meeting, School Superintendent Richard Organisciak asked the Board to grant a tax exemption of $38,000 to the Village of Larchmont. The only reason given for this request is that the City of New Rochelle and the Library have granted similar exemptions, since Larchmont is using the land as part of the Larchmont Reservoir-James G. Johnson Jr. Conservancy, stewarded by the Sheldrake Environmental Center at 685 Weaver Street.
In presenting his request for the tax exemption, Mr. Organisciak misinformed the Board as to the size of the property that lies within New Rochelle. He told the Board that only a small piece of the Conservancy’s land is inside the New Rochelle borders. However, the Sheldrake Environmental Center’s website states: “The Conservancy straddles the New Rochelle-Mamaroneck boundary, with most of the area in New Rochelle but all the buildings in the Town.” [emphasis added]
A quick hunt through the City’s assessment rolls confirms this. Larchmont owns three parcels of land in New Rochelle with a market value exceeding $1.9 million for which they pay property taxes of $37,950.
Our School District’s finances are under severe strain. We have cut staff and services for three consecutive years, even as our taxes have continued to rise. More cuts are coming. The tax exemption request for Larchmont amounts to a full teaching position every other year.
Giving away $37,950 in perpetuity, at a 3% interest rate, amounts to well over $750,000 on a net present value basis. In simple terms, if you bought a lottery ticket and won $37,950 a year for life and took the cash option you would get a check for $750,000 today. I see no reason to give Larchmont three-quarters of a million dollars just because they would like to have it.
Granting a tax exemption for this property also makes no sense when New Rochelle residents are not given equal access to all of the programs that take place there. The Town of Mamaroneck runs a summer day camp for children on the grounds of the Conservancy. New Rochelle children must pay a higher fee to attend, and even then can only go if there are free slots available after Mamaroneck children have had their requests filled.
Granting this exemption would provide Larchmont with money they can use to support services for Larchmont residences, such as the Hommocks pool and Manor Beach, both of which exclude New Rochelle residents from their use.
Please tell the Board of Education NOT to grant this tax exemption to Larchmont by signing this petition.