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Delay in STAR Might Impact Huntington

A delay by the Town of Huntington in providing data necessary to apply for a $10 million STAR program payment has forced the Huntington School District to consider short-term borrowing

The New York State School Tax Relief legislation reimburses school districts for the loss of property taxes resulting from an exemption homeowners can claim through the STAR program. In order to file for the state reimbursement, districts require information compiled by local tax receiver's offices.

"In conversations with the office of the Town of Huntington tax receiver, we have been informed that they will not be able to provide us with the data necessary to apply for the approximately $10 million payment that we are slated to receive just as after New Year's Day until sometime during the week of December 12," said David H. Grackin, Huntington's assistant superintendent for finance and management services.

Mr. Grackin said he spoke with state's Office of Real Property Tax Services in Albany and "they suggested we use last week's data and apply for 90-95 percent of the funds due us. I have done that." However, he is not confident that the STAR payment will arrive without an intervening snafu holding it up.

Since the district is relying on the STAR funds to meet its payroll on January 6, it became necessary for the Huntington School Board to approve a sale of tax anticipation notes. "The passage of this resolution will allow us to borrow the funds necessary to meet the January 6 payroll should the STAR payment not occur in a timely fashion," Mr. Grackin said.

The action by trustees does not mean the district will actually sell tax anticipation notes. It hasn't reached that point yet. However, the district is now positioned to act if it becomes necessary to pay its bills. If the district is forced to issue TANs, taxpayers will incur an interest expense.

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