Budget Questions & Answers (2021-22)

What is the difference between tax levy and tax rate?

The tax levy is the total amount of taxes that a school district raises from property owners in order to balance its budget. The District uses a state formula to determine what the levy will be after accounting for all other sources of revenue, including state aid. The tax rate is used to calculate what each property owner will pay in school taxes. It is the amount of tax paid for each increment (usually $1,000) of assessed value of property.

How will taxes be affected?

Most property owners will see a decrease in their tax bills next year (see the table below). This is due to the expiration of GlaxoSmithKline’s PILOT (payments in lieu of taxes). Read more about PILOT below.

Now that GSK will be on the tax rolls instead of a PILOT, they will cover more than the tax levy increase, leading to lower tax rates for most property owners.

This table compares the estimated tax rates and amounts with the GlaxoSmithKline PILOT that expires in June. For the purposes of this table, 2020-21 equalization rates and assessments were used to calculate 2021-22 tax estimates. Actual figures will vary depending on actual assessed values, which are calculated by each Town Assessor, and equalization rates provided by the State Office of Real Property Services that will be provided to districts this summer.


Tax Rate per $1,000 Assessed Value (2020-21)

Actual Taxes


Tax Rate per $1,000 Assessed Value (2021-22)

Estimated Taxes (2021-22)*

Annual Increase/(Decrease)*



$ 1,555.61


$ 1,548.61




$ 2,345.76


$ 2,335.21




$ 2,828.39


$ 2,815.66




$ 2,239.14


$ 2,229.06




$ 2,173.28


$ 2,163.50


GSK (Durham)


$ 0.00


$ 2,163.50

$ 2,163.50



$ 1,888.60


$ 1,880.10




$ 1,477.83


$ 1,471.18




$ 2,629.59


$ 2,617.76


*Based on an assessed property value of $100,000. Estimates based on 2020-21 assessments and equalization rates.

What is a PILOT?

A PILOT is a "payment in lieu of taxes" made to compensate a government or school district for some or all of the property tax revenue lost due to tax exempt ownership or use of real property. PILOT agreements are negotiated with the Greene County Industrial Development Agency. School districts are not involved in these negotiations.

Why is the tax cap higher than recent years?

This year’s tax cap is largely influenced by the loss of GlaxoSmithKline’s 10-year PILOT that was not renewed. The loss of this PILOT was factored into the District’s tax cap calculation, resulting in a higher tax cap to make up the difference. GSK’s properties will be added to the tax rolls and taxed appropriately, much like most other properties in the District. Now that GSK will be on the tax rolls instead of a PILOT, they will cover more than the tax levy increase, leading to lower tax rates for most property owners (see the tax impact table above).

Is a 4.45% tax levy increase within the tax cap?

Yes. The tax cap (or maximum tax levy increase) calculated for Cairo-Durham is 4.45%, meaning the proposed budget is tax cap compliant. Although the NYS Property Tax Cap Law is often described as a “2% tax cap,” this is an oversimplification and the “2% tax cap” does not exist. The law requires schools to use a long formula to determine their tax caps and the calculation rarely works out to be an even 2 percent. Many factors contribute to a district’s tax cap and cause it to fluctuate from year to year. See the graph below for a history of Cairo-Durham’s calculated tax caps and the actual tax levy increases of recent budgets.

tax levy history

What happens if the budget is defeated?

If the budget is not approved, the District may resubmit the original budget or sub¬mit a revised budget to voters on June 15, 2021. If the resubmitted/revised proposal is not approved by the required margin, the Board must adopt a contingency budget with a 0% tax levy increase. A contingency budget would result in a reduction of $649,606 from the current budget proposal. Under a contingency budget, the District would not be allowed to provide free public use of school facilities or purchase new equip-ment. Each program and department would be reviewed to eliminate non-mandated expenses. Examples of non-mandated expenditures that could be reduced or elim¬inated under a contingency budget include extracurricular activities, field trips, athlet¬ics, and non-mandated academic programs or electives.

What if I have more questions?

Contact the District Office at 518-622-8534, ext. 25010.