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Cheektowaga seniors remain concerned about school district taxes

Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak held a forum Monday at the Cheektowaga Senior Center to address questions and concerns but what was the main issue on the minds of seniors?

School taxes.

Gabryszak agrees that the amount residents are paying for school taxes is a considerable chunk of money, especially since the Town of Cheektowaga is largely a senior population.

“Residents right now when you take a look at your total tax bill, are paying probably 55 to 60 percent of their total taxes to the school,” said Gabryszak.

Although seniors seem to think this is unjust, pointing out that each school district has a different tax rate, the highest being Cheektowaga-Sloan. As of now, taxpayers for the Cheektowaga-Sloan district are paying more than $50 a thousand; that’s almost 50 percent more than residents in the Cheektowaga Central district, but why?

Gabryszak said it’s largely because the Cheektowaga Central district has many businesses surrounding it, which decreases resident’s taxes, while Cheektowaga-Sloan’s taxes mainly rely on its residents.

“In Cheektowaga Sloan, in your school district, taxes there are primarily based on residential property. That means you don’t have an awful lot of businesses to help offset that cost but Cheektowaga Central has the Galleria Mall so they get a lot of tax there; town, county, state and school comes from the mall. In your district it falls primarily on the residents because you don’t have a lot of business,” said Gabryszak.

At the town board meeting Monday, one resident stood up and asked why is it fair that the Cheektowaga Central district receives all of the large businesses; for example the new Walmart Supercenter that will open at Walden Avenue. The current Walmart stands at Thruway Plaza Drive, bringing in tax revenue for Cheektowaga Central taxpayers and when it moves it will continue to bring in that revenue; yet Cheektowaga-Sloan residents are still suffering.

Gabryszak continues to tell the districts, residents and the town that he is willing to ask the state for funds to do a study on consolidation or mergers but all four districts and the town must send him a letter stating that they want to conduct one. A study may prove that consolidating or merging districts could save taxpayers a large amount of money, especially since each district has their own superintendent that gets paid an annual salary.

The town said there is a dual school district meeting Monday, Oct. 29 at Cleveland Hill High School to further discuss the matter.


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