Schalmont to use tax suit funds for repairs

Tuesday, December 11, 2012
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— Schalmont is planning to fix the roof at Jefferson Elementary School and upgrade the heating ventilation system at the middle school, using some funds it thought it would need to settle a tax lawsuit.

The Board of Education has approved a resolution to spend up to $370,000 to reconstruct the roof, hallway and other improvements at the elementary school.

Superintendent Valerie Kelsey said one section of the roof has exceeded its useful life and it needs to be replaced. There is also a section of the hallway with deteriorating concrete.

The district will spend up to $500,000 to upgrade the HVAC system at the middle school.

“Our middle school is the only school that hadn’t gotten [upgraded] to modernized computer digital controls for heating and ventilation systems,” she said.

The final project would be to replace the phone system districtwide at a cost of $200,000.

“Our phone system has become obsolete. Our vendor has told us they will no longer provide preventive maintenance,” Kelsey said. “Soon, there’s going to be no parts to repair it.”

These projects would all be done during the summer, she said.

The money is coming from the former reserve fund that the district had for property tax assessment challenges. The district in June ratified an agreement that General Electric had reached along with Schenectady County and the town of Rotterdam that lowered the company’s property assessment by $6.5 million to $132 million.

The district agreed to repay $721,635 in property taxes collected from GE from 2007 to 2011. The district tapped $331,500 of its surplus to pay off that debt.

It had built up the tax challenge fund to $6.5 million and it tapped $4 million to pay down a $6.15 million bond it took out in 2002 as part of a previous settlement with GE.

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