County Sales Tax Plan Prompts Warnings Of Service Cuts And Tax Hikes

Local News

The Homer Mayor and Trustees Clune, Daley and Finkbeiner say they are concerned over the latest sales tax distribution plan before the Cortland County Legislature.

Mayor Hal McCabe says county lawmakers won’t even meet to negotiate, and the current plan reduce village revenues by $750,000 over its five years.

Leaders posted a letter on the village Facebook page saying cuts in spending aren’t likely to make up this much revenue.

They warn of a 4% tax hike or cuts in recreation services, trash collection and overnight police patrols.

Here is the text of the letter posted on the Village of Homer Facebook page:

A note from Mayor Hal McCabe and Village Trustees Pat Clune, Tim Daley and Ed Finkbeiner:

I and the other Mayors and Town Supervisors have tried to work with the county legislature to agree on the sales tax distribution plan, but they are unwilling to meet and negotiate. A proposal that every Town Supervisor and Mayor supported was voted down by the legislature and we were never allowed to meet with them again and find a compromise.

Based on this formula, the Village of Homer will lose approximately $130,000 the first year, and more each year until year 5.

That will force us to make a decision, either to vote to override the tax cap and raise your taxes an additional 4% or to dramatically cut the services that the Village of Homer provides to its residents.

Services under their sales tax plan that we would be forced to consider eliminating:

1. Eliminating the Village of Homer Recreation Department

2. Ending free trash and recycling collection in the Village and going to a blue bag system like the City of Cortland uses.

3. Eliminating Homer Village Police between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am, and having the county take over, which would necessitate them adding an additional road patrol unit during that time to provide our residents with the same level of protection you receive now.

If the county plan is approved, we would need to cut one of the above services or add to your already high village tax burden. An additional $70 to $200 a year per household on top of what you already pay.

The Board of Trustees and I do not want to do any of these things, but the county appears poised to leave us no choice.

We are doing what we can to save, but this proposal would cost us at least $750,000 over the course of the five years, and that is beyond what simple efficiency cuts can achieve and also beyond what our reserves will absorb.

We call on the Cortland County Legislature to abandon their forced tax increase and to work with the supervisors and mayors to come up with a compromise. Let us negotiate!

Please make your voice heard on this matter and call or email the legislators who are implementing this unfair plan, let them know you reject their drastic cuts to our village:

George Wagner 607-849-6771

Paul Heider 607-836-6549

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