New Paltz school district seeks voter approval to buy 22 acres for $798K
NEW PALTZ, N.Y. — The school board has scheduled a public referendum for April 10 on the proposed $798,000 purchase of 22.4 acres next to Lenape Elementary School.
The referendum was scheduled during a Board of Education meeting on Wednesday at which Superintendent Maria Rice said buying the land would allow the district to increase parking at the school.
“It (also) provides secondary access to Lenape property,” she said. “I’m always concerned when you have a school and a cul-de-sac and there’s an emergency. ...To me, that is a primary reason why you may want to purchase this property.”
On the ballot will be a proposition on whether to make the purchase with existing financial reserves; and one that would allow the district to make the purchase with money from the property tax levy if voters reject the use of reserves.
Rice said that if voters approve the use of financial reserves, the reserve fund still would have $400,000 in it afterward “for any emergency capital expenditures that we might have.”
Buying the land with money generated by property taxes would cause the district to increase its tax levy by 0.17 percent, Rice said.
The property currently has on it a six-bedroom home, a two-car detached garage, a pool and a barn that contains an apartment.
“Our intention is to cut off the house and resell it, so the cost of the land comes considerably down,” said school board President Patrick Rausch. “It gives us options (for) additional parking, additional sports fields. If we decide to consolidate schools, we can go that way.”
Said Rice: “I know we’re not in the real estate business ... but the district could very easily subdivide the property and resell the home with a portion of the total acreage.”
Rice said the property had a 2011 school tax bill of $10,870. Continued...
Voting will be noon to 9 p.m. April 10 in New Paltz High School on South Putt Corners Road.
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