Tully (WSYR-TV) -- People paying school taxes in Tully may be shocked to find out why their bills are higher than expected. That’s because a five year long fight by Aldi’s to get its assessment on its huge distribution center lowered has been decided in the grocer’s favor.
It happens in almost every school district, people and businesses fight to lower their assessments in hopes of bringing their tax bill down. But the case of Aldi’s is the biggest in recent memory for Tully schools.
"The money that we put into the reserve, which we needed to anticipate this, was money that otherwise could have been used for programs and so on,” said Tully Schools Superintendent Kraig Pritts.
The District has been setting money aside the past few years to the tune of $1.2 million in anticipation of payment back to Aldi's, so the fact they've only had to fork over $800,000 is viewed as a small victory. They're still trying to figure out how the difference will be redistributed in the budget.
"We were in the early stages of negotiations at budget time, but it turned out markedly different than what we were discussing at the time, so we didn't really have accurate information to even share with our community as to what might happen,” Pritts explained.
Besides the payment, Aldi’s gets a lower assessment when future taxes are calculated. It means, people in the district pick up the extra share, unexpectedly this year, not because the district is getting any more money, but because the redistribution of the burden resulting from the settlement.
“It's a catch 22. It’s a mixed thing for us. They're supportive neighbors. We don't want to be an upset neighbor with them, but business is business and they're doing what they felt was best for their business,” Pritts said.
Pritts emphasizes that the payment to Aldi’s will not affect any programs, staff or teachers in the Tully School District because the district had been setting the money aside in its reserve fund.