Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Initial plan for possible take-back of school district sales tax dollars laid out

Although there was no banter back and forth at the first meeting of town supervisors with school superintendents, there was definitely an uneasiness in the air.
At stake was the possibility of the Wayne County Board of Supervisors taking back $5.4 million dollars in shared sales tax monies currently given annually to area school districts.

County Board Member/Ontario Town Supervisor Bob Kelsch laid out a detailed history behind the sales tax sharing and possible reasons why the County should take back the sales tax dollars.

At the heart of Kelsch’s argument was the fact that currently $229,185 is going outside Wayne County, to bordering school districts that jut into Wayne County. The Penfield School District receives the lion’s share, receiving $174,483 of Wayne County sales tax revenue.

Kelsch also outlined several choices of where the money would go.

I. Keep the current distribution
II. The $5.4 million goes back to the county
III. The $5.4 million goes to the towns
IV. Establish an added benefit to Economic Development & Planning
V. Or something else

Kelsch also pointed out his estimates of where the fiscal impact is highest when the sales tax revenue to the entity is a larger percentage of total appropriations for that entity.
A. Towns – Highest
B. County
C. Schools – Lowest

It was suggested that a portion of the sales tax dollars taken back from the school districts could be used to put abandoned buildings throughout the County, back on the tax rolls, thus benefitting all the tax receiving entities.

After several questions from Board members present, Red Creek School Superintendent, David Sholes, made a brief case for keeping the status quo for the sales tax dollars remaining in the school districts. He outlined what he perceived as the disastrous effect it would have upon the students and programs and reminded the Board members present that, unlike town and county budgets, voters get to approve, or turn down school district budgets. The meeting was attended by several school district superintendents and administrators.

Following the meeting, a December 4th date at 1:30 p.m. was set for the school districts to make a full presentation to the Board, including a possible slide presentation in defense of keeping the sales tax dollars.

The meeting will be held at the County Court House and is open to the public.