Cortland County Lawmakers Approve Extension of Mortgage Recording Tax
Cortland County lawmakers held a special meeting last night to take another vote on reauthorizing collection of mortgage recording taxes.
Last week during a special session county legislators rejected the home rule legislation which allows the county to assess a fee when property owners take out a new mortgage on their homes or add a second mortgage to their property. The fee is based on the amount of money borrowed against the property.
Last week some lawmakers were critical of the fee which can add a few hundred dollars to the cost of the mortgage, in some cases banks roll the fee into the mortgage so property owners wind up paying interest on the charge over the life of the mortgage.
Without a majority of support the fee extension failed, good news for people buying homes, but bad news for county tax payers as lawmakers had budgeted over $270 thousand dollars in revenue from the tax in the current year’s budget.
County Administrator Martin Murphy says without that revenue the county was facing nearly $300 thousand in cuts to discretionary services or a 1.5% increase in taxes next year to cover the lost revenue.
Murphy says it made sense to reauthorize the tax, the State imposed tax cap for 2014 could be about 1.5% which would leave little room for contractual salary increases and expected increases in insurance costs and unfunded state mandates.
The local legislation must be approved by the state legislature before the end of the current legislative session.