School board presidents weigh in on proposed property tax cap freeze

By Kelly McCarthy

January 8, 2014 Updated Jan 8, 2014 at 7:22 PM EST

(WBNG Binghamton) Governor Cuomo released part of his tax plan earlier this week, which offers more than $2 billion in tax relief for residents and businesses.

A big chunk of that relief money will go toward freezing property taxes for homeowners that make less than $50,000 a year.

But it comes with two conditions. Homeowners must live in a locality that stays within the two percent property tax levy and takes meaningful measures to consolidate or share services.

Presidents of Chenango Forks and Chenango Valley school boards, who recently went through a proposed merger study, weighed in on the idea.

"If the state provided enough funding," said Chenango Valley School Board President Gerald Abbey, "That it would really enhance the educational opportunities for the kids and streamline the services or the cost for those services through consolidation I think it's a great idea."

The merger of the two schools failed to pass voter approval, but could stimulate more shared services in the future.

"We always want to look at what we may be able to do with courses they may offer or courses we may offer," said Chenango Forks School Board President Don Edwards, "To being able to offer to the students of the opposite district to enhance their educational opportunities also."

Both Edwards and Abbey said even if this incentive was in place before the merger vote, they don't believe it would have changed the outcome.