Legislators Come Up With Sales Tax Distribution Proposal

Local News

Cortland County finances have been a concern for some time. The County Legislature Sales Tax Committee met Wednesday evening, needing a new plan for what to do with sales tax revenues.

The current split that was set up to pay for a county radio system will stay in place until the end of the year.

One proposal was approved in the committee meeting:

  • $1 million off the top will go into a jail fund
  • $200,000 for the emergency radio system
  • $400,000 to pay down county debt principle
  • $200,000 toward county building repairs

Total $1.8-million, off the top of the collections.

The county would keeps 54% of the rest of the revenue, a number that will up a point every year under the five-year proposal.

  • The city would receive 17% and towns and villages would divide the last 29%
  • As the county percentage increases, the town portion would drop

If sales tax revenue totals more than $28 million, the county would keep 80% of the overage, with 20% for the City of Cortland.

The plan was approved by the Sales Tax Committee, which sent it to the Legislature’s Budget and Finance Committee, before it goes before the full legislature at its next meeting.

Reaction

Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin

Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin estimates that the new formula would cut the city’s budget by $653,000.

Tobin says the cuts threaten public safety services such as fire and police.

The Mayor labeled this a “clear lack of understanding of what the city provides” and warns “the repercussions would be felt throughout the county.”

During Wednesday night’s Town Board meeting, Homer Supervisor Fred Forbes mentioned that sales tax revenue cuts may not hit the town as hard as the village, and a lot depends on sales tax collected on the price of a gallon of gas.

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