WATERTOWN — Residents across the north country will go to the polls this afternoon and evening to vote on school district budgets and elect school board members.
Voters in the Watertown City School District will be asked to approve a $92 million spending plan for the 2023-24 school year.
The district is proposing to spend $92,067,925 in the coming year, a $9,084,856, or 10.9%, increase over the $82,983,069 contained in the 2022-23 budget.
The proposed tax levy, or the amount to be raised from taxpayers, will rise 2.25%, from $17,117,785 in 2022-23 to $17,502,935 in the coming year, a $385,150 increase.
For property owners in the city of Watertown, the projected tax rate in 2023-24 will be $10.93 per each $1,000 of assessed value, a 16-cent per $1,000 decrease over the previous year’s $11.09.
That means that a city property owner with a home assessed at $100,000 who paid $1,109 in school taxes in 2022-23 can expect to pay an estimated $1,093 in the coming year.
Voters will also be selecting three school board members. Two of the three seats will be three-year terms, while the third seat will be given to the third-highest vote-getter to fill the remainder of a term that expires in June 2024.
Voters will choose from six candidates, including Damita J. Smith, Jason B. Harrington, Milagros C. “Milly” Smith, John A. Cain III, Tina M. Fluno and Kelly S. Bragger.
The school board election occurs at the same time as the school budget vote, which will be held from noon to 9 p.m.
Voting locations for Watertown will be in the gymnasium at North Elementary School, 171 East Hoard St., for voters residing north of the Black River and within the district in the towns of LeRay and Pamelia. Voters residing south of the Black River and in the towns of Rutland and Watertown will vote in the chorus room at Watertown High School, 1335 Washington St.
Voting times for other districts vary. Information about how and where to vote can be found on districts’ website.
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Please remember that most citizen's property assessments across Jefferson County went up significantly. There are record numbers of property owners grieving them at this very moment. Therefore, the example in this article is somewhat misleading, suggesting that everyone's school taxes will go down. Remember, county property tax RATES went down (as announced in November), but with the new assessments, the reality is that most people's tax BILLS are going up. Lowering tax rates a little, while raising property value assessments a lot, is an unwelcome bit of subterfuge. This is the same deceitful scenario playing out for the second time in less than a year.
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