Carthage School Taxes Higher Than Necessary, Audit Says

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When the Carthage Central School District increased taxes by 11.5 percent over five years, it took more money from taxpayers than it needed.

That's according to an audit of the district by the state comptroller's office.

Auditors say the district overestimated expenditures by $19.7 million, resulting in about $14 million in operating surpluses.

The audit covers five years ending on June 30, 2013.

In a written response, district officials agree with the report, saying an unexpected $6.3 million in aid for military children in 2012-13 added to the problem.

"With our transient population," Superintendent Peter Turner said in an interview, "it's sometimes very difficult to predict exactly what the expenses for the year are going to be."

The state recommends the district use its extra money to pay off debt, make one-time expenditures, increase reserve funds and decrease property taxes.

The district says it's following the comptroller's recommendations by more carefully estimating expenses, paying off debt, buying needed equipment and reducing taxes.

District officials say they took these steps while creating the budget for the coming school year.

Friday, October 31, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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