Brumley clarifies tax terms, city rate may decrease

Following the April 22 special meeting of the board of education for the Greater Amsterdam School District, local news outlets circulated reports that the City of Amsterdam experienced a $41 million decrease in taxable assessed property value. School business manager Kim Brumley clarified that the $41 million decrease to the city was a loss in true market value, not taxable assessed value as had been stated.

In real estate, true market value is the actual value of a home. If you were trying to sell your home, you would base your asking price on the market value, Brumley explained. “So, if my house is worth, according to the City of Amsterdam, $100,000, I’m going to try to sell it for $100,000. When I lose market value, my house will no longer be worth $100,000,” she said.

True market value is also used by school districts to determine tax rates for contributing municipalities. In order to do this, Brumley said that the district “takes all of the municipalities that are in the GASD…the three biggest being the City of Amsterdam, the Town of Florida, and the Town of Amsterdam…takes their market value, their true value, and equates a true tax rate for that market value. And then we appropriate the levy based on what percentage they are of the entire school district.”

For taxpayers within the GASD, this is significant, as it would have caused a rate increase even if the board had adopted a proposed budget for the 2015-16 school year without levying a tax increase.

Brumley explained, “Now, because the city of Amsterdam has become a lesser piece of the pie, as you would say, their tax rate will go down. And the Town of Amsterdam and the Town of Florida…and I use them because they’re probably really the three that make up a good portion of the GASD…they would really pick up the difference.”

If the board of education had adopted a proposed budget without levying a tax increase, the City of Amsterdam would have experienced a school tax rate decrease of 4.62 percent, whereas both the Town of Amsterdam and the Town of Florida would have experienced an increase of 4.11 percent. The other municipalities in the GASD would have also experienced slight rate increases under a budget without an increased tax levy.

If the proposed $65 million budget with a 2 percent tax levy passes the public vote, the City of Amsterdam will still experience a decrease of 2.71 percent to a tax rate of $27.37 per $1,000 of taxable assessed value. The Town of Amsterdam and Town of Florida will both experience an increase of 6.19 percent, to a rate of $212.10 in the Town of Amsterdam and a rate of $40.79 in the Town of Florida.

Below is a chart showing the change in tax rates for all municipalities within the GASD based on numbers provided by Brumley. You can download a summary of the proposed budget from by clicking here.

14-15 tax rate
per $1000 t.a.v.*
Proposed 15-16 tax rate
per $1000 t.a.v.*
City of Amsterdam 28.13 27.37 -2.71%
Town of Amsterdam 199.73 212.10 +6.19%
Town of Florida 38.41 40.79 +6.19%
Town of Mohawk 19.78 21.21 +7.23%
Town of Perth 32.74 34.77 +6.20%
Town of Duanesburg 58.06 59.58 +2.62%
Town of Glenville 21.02 22.09 +5.09%
Town of Charlton 28.53 29.87 +4.70%

* Total assessed value

Ashley Onyon

Ashley Onyon is a graduate of the journalism program at SUNY Albany. She has contributed articles to The Mohawk Valley Independent and the annual journal Upstream.