The Lake Shore School District has received two payments totaling more than $200,000 in what appears to be a pending U.S. District Court settlement of a case involving Conrail and affecting up to 213 school districts throughout the state.
Conrail's suit, which is over a year old, had claimed that the railroad's properties throughout the state were overassessed during the period from 1993 to 1995. The company had sought partial reimbursement for taxes paid during that time.
According to Philip Brothman, the school district's attorney, Conrail has proposed a multimillion-dollar settlement for payments on some back school taxes. In anticipation of the court's acceptance of the settlement, Conrail has sent checks for the settled amounts to affected districts.
Brothman said that Conrail recently paid $65,895 on two parcels of land owned by the company in the Town of Brant, and $134,282 on three parcels owned in the Town of Evans.
The two figures are only partial payments on the total assessments of Conrail's properties in the two municipalities. In Brant, Conrail's property is assessed at $93,147, and in Evans the company's property has been assessed at $192,575.
"They are paying the amounts in the settlement in the expectation that it is going to be approved," Brothman said.
"We're going to take these partial payments."
Brothman said that if the settlement is approved by the court, the district will not receive any more of the total assessed amounts. "At least we've gotten our money for this year -- part of it," he said.
In other business, the district authorized a bond anticipation note for $367,800 for the purchase of six school buses. The purchase was approved in a districtwide vote last year.